A recent case has sounded a warning bell for those who knowingly take unnecessarily risky activities: the court will take a firm line in assessing damages for injury in cases in which the injured party has acted irresponsibly.

The case involved a skier who went ‘off piste’ with his skiing party when it was beyond his capabilities. He had a serious accident as a result of colliding with a tree and is now tetraplegic. He sued his skiing instructor, who organised the off-piste run, for damages.

The court reduced the damages payable to the man by a third because of his contributory negligence, because he should have known that it was dangerous to ski off-piste with his level of expertise and he should therefore have declined to accompany the rest of his party.