The Duty of Care

1.The Common Law Duty of Care:

“To take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour.”

2.The Duty under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 s.2 (2):

“To take such care as in all the circumstances is reasonable to see that the visitor is reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.”

3.The Duty under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984 c.3 (3):

“To another (not being his visitor) in respect of any such risk as is referred to in subsection (1) above if –

(a) he is aware of the danger or has reasonable grounds to believe that it exists;

(b) he knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that the other is in the vicinity of the danger (in either case, whether the other has lawful authority for being in that vicinity or not); and

(c) the risk is one against which, in all the circumstances of the case, he may reasonably be expected to offer the other some protection.”

4.Section 1 of the Compensation Act 2006 (civil claims only):

“A court considering a claim in negligence or breach of statutory duty may, in determining whether the defendant should have taken particular steps to meet a standard of care (whether by taking precautions against a risk or otherwise), have regard to whether a requirement to take those steps might – 

(a) prevent a desirable activity from being undertaken at all, to a particular extent or in a particular way, or

(b) discourage persons from undertaking functions in connection with a desirable activity.”

 5. Additional duty relating to a business and employer (criminal law):

1) The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on employers to take reasonably practicable measures to protect employees and the public from their undertaking - see Sc2(1), 3(1) and 3(2);

2) The Management of the Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers and the self-employed, to carry out risk assessments - see regulation 3. This will include assessing the risk to staff and the public, from trees under their management.