Case Report: 1998 EWCA Civ 591; 1998 142 S.J.L.B 143 (Times)

The Facts: This was an English decision in the Court of Appeal concerning liability for injury caused by a golf ball. The defendant had hit a golf ball which was deflected by a bush and hit the plaintiff in the eye.

Decision: The Court of Appeal approved the earlier decision which found the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injury. They said that it was extremely unfortunate for both parties that the golf ball, having been deflected by the bush, should then have happened to hit the plaintiff in the eye. However, in the particular circumstances of the case, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care and in striking the ball at the time when he did, without waiting for the plaintiff to pass by him and, without prior warning to the plaintiff, the defendant was in breach of that duty and thereby caused the plaintiff injury.

Comments: It was noted that the outcome of any case concerning golf course injuries must depend on its particular facts.

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