The claimant was a carer who claimed damages from her employer when she suffered a wrist injury as a result of slipping and falling on an icy and snowy footpath while making her way to see a house-bound individual. She succeeded at first instance but lost on appeal in the Scottish courts. The Supreme Court allowed the claimant’s appeal.
The Court considered the Management Regulations, the PPE Regulations and the relevant EU Directives and found that there had been a breach of both regulations with regards to risk assessments.
Although this case concerned events pre-Enterprise Act amendment to remove a right of action for breach of statutory duty, the Supreme Court helpfully addressed common law negligence and causation arising out of these issues [paragraphs 107 to 121 of the judgment]. The Supreme Court said that the employer’s duty is no longer confined to taking such precautions as are commonly taken and a negligent omission can result from a failure to seek out knowledge of risks which are not in themselves obvious.
In addition to dealing with negligence, Supreme Court also give valuable guidance [paragraphs 34 to 73 of the judgment] as to expert evidence, particularly non-medical experts, including: admissibility; making sure the expert performs his role; policing performance of an expert’s duties; and economy in litigation.