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In a few days Father Christmas will be visiting houses where young children live. As those houses invariably leave out mince pies and milk and other goodies for Father Christmas and his reindeer, we can assume that he is a welcome, and therefore a lawful visitor. But what is the position should he fall and injure himself perhaps due to a hazard within the house?

The householder, as occupier, has a duty of care under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to “ take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that  a visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there”

If Father Christmas enters any property without the express or implied permission of the occupier – ie as a Trespasser – and injures himself, then the position of the Occupier is different. An occupier will only owe him a duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to care for his safety:

  • in respect of risks of which the occupier knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that they exist;
  • if he knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that Father Christmas is in the vicinity of the risks;
  • if the risk is one against which he can be expected to offer some protection in the circumstances.

For more information contact Michael Wright on 01244 354804 or email michael.wright@dtmlegal.com
Michael Wright DTM Legal

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