Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

Smith v Baker - 1891

347 words (1 pages) Case Summary

6th Sep 2021 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Smith v Baker & Sons

[1891] AC 325;  55 JP 660; 60 LJQB 683; 40 WR 392;

[1891-4] All ER Rep 69; 65 LT 467; 7 TLR 679

NEGLIGENCE, EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY, DEFENCE AGAINST NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS, VOLENTI NON FIT INJURIA, ACCEPTANCE OF RISK, EFFECT OF KNOWLEDGE OF EMPLOYEE, ACCIDENT AT WORK

Facts

The plaintiff was employed by a railway company to drill holes in a rock, near a crane, operated by men employed by the railway company. The crane lifted stones and at times swung them over the plaintiff’s head without warning. The plaintiff was fully aware of the danger he was exposed to by working near the crane. One time, a stone fell off the crane and injured the plaintiff. He sued his employers for negligence under the now repealed Employers’ Liability Act 1880. The jury in the county court ruled in favour of the plaintiff. The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal which reversed the decision of the county court. The plaintiff appealed to the House of Lords.

Issue

Is the defence of volenti non fit injuria applicable to cases where an employee whose occupation is not in itself dangerous suffers injury from an activity carried out in another department of which he is fully aware but nevertheless continues to work?

Held

The appeal was allowed.

(1) The mere fact that the plaintiff undertook or continued employment with the full knowledge that there is danger arising out of another activity in the workplace, is not enough to show that maxim volenti non fit injuria is applicable.

(2) The question of whether the plaintiff has undertaken such a risk is a one of fact, not of law. The evidence in the present case shows that the plaintiff did not voluntarily undertook the risk of injury. This is so in common law and in cases arising under the Employers’ Liability Act 1880.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles