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Standard of care expected of rugby clubs

Sutton v Syston RFC [2011] EWCA Civ 1182

The Court of Appeal today handed down judgment in this personal injury case where Matthew Boyle appeared for the successful appellant.

The 16 year old respondent was injured during a pre-season game of touch rugby when his knee came into contact with an item concealed within the grass of the pitch. Allowing the appeal, the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the steps that rugby clubs need to take in order to discharge the obligation upon them as occupiers to exercise reasonable care.

Longmore LJ, giving the leading judgment, stressed that playing rugby was a desirable activity within the meaning of section 1 of the Compensation Act 2006 and the Courts should be slow to impose a standard of care that was too onerous. The Court also concluded that there was no evidence which allowed the trial Judge to conclude that causation had been established.

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