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If a person suffers a personal injury while in the premises of another person, it is necessary to analyse the circumstances of the accident from the point of view of the law of negligence and also the Irish law on occupiers’ liability.

(If the injured person is an employee, it will be necessary also to consider what employer duties might have been broken, resulting in the injury).

The law on occupiers’ liability applies when the injury is caused by a defect or some condition of the premises. If the injury occurs without involving the premises, occupiers’ liability does not arise.

The greater part of the law on occupiers’ liability is now to be found in the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1995.

It is a highly technical piece of legislation.

Consider the definition of “premises”:

“premises” includes land, water and any fixed or moveable structures thereon and also includes vessels, vehicles, trains, aircraft and other means of transport;”

So, a motor car or a bicycle is a “premises”.

Or, consider what is a “recreational user”:

“recreational user” means an entrant who, with or without the occupier’s permission or at the occupier’s implied invitation, is present on premises without a charge (other than a reasonable charge in respect of the cost of providing vehicle parking facilities) being imposed for the purpose of engaging in a recreational activity…”

What for instance is the cost of providing car parking in a particular location? If a “recreational user” is alleged to be such, having paid a car parking charge, should the occupier prove that the charge was “reasonable” (relative to the “cost” of providing parking)?

(Why the reference to the “greater part of the law on occupiers’ liability” above?

Because of Section 8 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1995;

“8.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting any enactment or any rule of law relating to—

( a ) self-defence, the defence of others or the defence of property,

( b ) any liability imposed on an occupier as a member of a particular class of persons including the following classes of persons:

(i) persons by virtue of a contract for the hire of, or for the carriage for reward of persons or property in, any vessel, vehicle, train, aircraft or other means of transport;

(ii) persons by virtue of a contract of bailment; and

(iii) employers in respect of their duties towards their employees, or

( c ) any liability imposed on an occupier for a tort committed by another person in circumstances where the duty imposed on the occupier is of such a nature that its performance may not be delegated to another person.”