This is the liability decision following on from the 2013 decision of the Supreme Court which held that Essex County Council would be liable for any negligence found on behalf of the claimant’s swimming teacher or lifeguard.

The claimant was injured whilst attending a school swimming lesson at the local authority’s pool. The claimant’s case was that her swimming teacher and/or the lifeguard had failed to exercise reasonable care in the performance of their duties on the day of the accident, in that each failed to keep pupils under observation when in the water and failed within a reasonable period of time to observe that the claimant was in difficulties, raise the alarm and effect a rescue.

On the evidence the claimant was in the water for at least 50 seconds and was in difficulty and taking in water for at least 30 seconds.

The court found that the teacher’s failure to notice a pupil in difficulties in the water for more than 30 seconds fell below the standard of care reasonably to be expected of a teacher and that the lifeguard’s failure to observe the claimant was a failure to perform her role to the reasonable standard to be expected; She was not paying sufficient attention to users in the water at the material time.