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Win for charity in damages case 'good for sector'

Howard Lake | 26 June 2008 | News

A recent civil damages claim brought against a charity for an injury to a climber at an activity centre has been decided in favour of the charity.
Charities should have ‘no reason to fear costly and damaging compensation claims’ according to a leading liability underwriter, if they take steps to asses risks of their activities and make reasonable efforts to keep individuals safe.
The case was brought by a novice climber who suffered serious injuries after falling while taking part in an activity. Lord Justice May said in the Court of Appeal that “he chose to indulge in activity which had inherent dangers, not because the premises were in a dangerous state”.
Lindsay Gray, senior liability underwriter at Ecclesiastical Insurance said: “Provided that charities adopt a proportionate and sensible approach to risk they can be content that the law is now taking a more reasonable and sensible approach to accidents like this – an accident does not of itself demonstrate that negigence has occurred.
“Life is full of risk. We’ve got to accept that some activities have greater risk than others. To stop them altogether would seriously disrupt a charity’s fundraising or even threaten their future. The benefit of doing the activity far outweighs the risk, which is often relatively small.”