Bruce Silvester wins personal injury negligence case in the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal have handed down judgment in The Scout Association v Mark Barnes [2010] EWCA Civ 1476. The Court upheld Mr Barnes' right to damages for shoulder injuries which still afflict him 10 years after the accident. The Scout Association, concerned about the wider implications of the judgment, challenged the ruling and argued that it could have a major impact on what it can offer youngsters by way of excitement. The Appeal, which attracted wide media attention, was dismissed by a two-to-one majority. Lord Justice Jackson allowed the appeal but it was dismissed by Lord Justice Ward and Lady Justice Smith.

In her judgment Lady Justice Smith said:

Everyone accepts, including the judge, that scouting activities are valuable to society. Every one accepts, including the judge, that scouting activities will often properly include an element of risk.  However, that cannot mean that any scouting activity, however risky, is acceptable just because scouting is a very good thing.  The social value of the particular activity must be taken into account in assessing whether the activity was reasonably safe.”

The Court held that the trial judge had applied the law properly to the facts and that his judgment could not be found to be incorrect.

Bruce Silvester appeared for the claimant, a news report on the case can be found here

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