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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H01M51S

When Alice attempted to exit a public toilet cubicle in a park maintained by the local council, she found there was no door handle. After waiting fifteen minutes, she decided to climb out by standing on the toilet roll holder, which gave way. She slipped and fell, injuring herself. 

Alice is considering suing the local authority; how would you advise her?

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Alice’s actions in attempting to climb out of the cubicle were not unreasonable given the circumstances. The injury she sustained was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the local authority’s negligence in failing to provide a door handle, and therefore it is not too remote. The leading case here is Sayers v Harlow UDC [1958], where it was held that a claimant's actions to escape from a trapped situation were not considered unreasonable. The court found that while the claimant’s act did not break the chain of causation, there was contributory negligence on her part, which led to a reduction in damages by one quarter. 

Key Point: The Sayers v Harlow UDC case is significant in understanding the principles of occupiers' liability and the concept of contributory negligence. It establishes that occupiers must ensure the safety of visitors to their premises, but visitors also have a duty to act reasonably. If a claimant's actions in response to a hazard are considered reasonable, the occupier may still be liable for any resulting injuries, though damages may be reduced if the claimant is partly responsible for the harm.

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