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   Case summaries      Gwilliam v West Hertfordshire

Gwilliam v West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust [2002] EWCA Civ 1041  Court of Appeal

The claimant, a 63 year old woman, was injured at a summer fair hosted by West Hertfordshire Hopsital. She was injured whilst using a ‘splat wall’ whereby participants would bounce off a trampette against a wall and become attached to the wall by means of Velcro material. The injury occurred as a result of negligent set up of the equipment. The equipment was provided by  a business called ‘Club Entertainments’ who were an independent contractor engaged by the Hospital. Club Entertainment’s public liability insurance had expired four days before the incidence and thus they had no cover for the injury. They agreed to settle her claim for £5,000. Mrs Gwilliam brought an action against the hospital based on their failure to ensure that the entertainment arranged was covered by public liability insurance. She claimed the difference between the £5,000 and what she would have received had they been covered by insurance.


The Hospital owed a duty of care Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 this duty did extend to checking whether the independent contractor had insurance cover since this would be relevant to whether they were competent. However, there was no breach of duty since the Hospital had enquired and had been told by Club Entertainment that they had insurance cover. There was no duty to inspect the insurance documents to ensure that cover was adequate.
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