Bruce Silvester and Kate Balmer win personal injury case in the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal have handed down judgment in CEVA Logistics Limited v Mark Anthony Lynch & Others [2011] EWCA Civ 188. Bruce Silvester, leading Kate Balmer, appeared for the successful Claimant/First Respondent.

The Court of Appeal upheld Mr Lynch’s right to damages for the serious injuries he sustained when he was crushed by a vehicle whilst working as a visiting electrician in a warehouse. The warehouse owners challenged the first instance decision finding them in breach of statutory duty under regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, on the grounds that their duty under that regulation applied only to their own employees and not to the employees of other contractors working on site.  They submitted that, by virtue of regulation 4(2)(c), the requirements of regulation 17 only related “to matters within that person’s control” and in this case only Mr Lynch’s employer could instruct him how to do his work. The Appeal was unanimously dismissed by Lord Justices Mummery, Moore-Bick and Jackson.

In what Lord Justice Jackson termed a point of “academic interest” the Court also held that the warehouse owners owed a common law duty of care to Mr Lynch. Overturning the trial judge’s finding on this point, the Court clarified that a duty of care may be owed to the employees of an apparently reliable subcontractor in circumstances other than a “cowboy operator” type scenario.  Applying general principles of negligence, the warehouse owners were plainly responsible for coordinating the various activities taking place on their site. They owed a duty of care, concurrent with their statutory duty, which they breached in all the circumstances.

Bruce Silvester and Kate Balmer were instructed by Irwin Mitchell.

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