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Key Case | Day v High Performance Sports Ltd (2003) | Negligence - Breach of Duty - Social Utility of the Act

A-Level, BTEC National
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 5 Oct 2020

This case established that an error of judgment in a time of emergency may not breach a duty of care due to the stressful and urgent nature of the situation.


Claimant: Day

Defendant: High Performance Sports, in respect of employee

Facts: The claimant fell from a wall in an indoor climbing area and suffered brain injury as a result. She was not properly secured, this was her responsibility. When she realised she was not attached to her rope she was 25 feet high and called for assistance. The duty manager told a nearby climber to grab her by the harness, during this attempt she fell to the ground.

Outcome: Not liable

Legal principle: Whilst the actions instructed by the duty manager were actually incapable of rescuing the claimant. There was no breach of the standard of care because ‘if the appellant erred, the error was one of judgement and not negligence and in the existing circumstances of emergency ought fairly to be excused.’

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