Poppleton v Peter Ashley Activities Centre

Reported in the Daily Telegraph, 12th June 2008

The facts: This is an unreported English Appeal Court decision. It was an appeal against an award of damages to a man who was injured in a fall from a climbing wall. He claimed that the Activities Centre had not given him any training or warned of the potential dangers. At first instance he was awarded damages on the basis that the Activities Centre was 25% at fault. However, this was overturned on appeal.

Decision: The Appeal Judges said that it was quite obvious that a serious injury could result from a fall, and that no amount of matting could remove all risk. They rejected his claim that the Centre should not have allowed him to climb without assessing him first, indicating that otherwise, it would have wide-ranging implications for dry ski slopes, mountain bike tracks, swimming in pools or the sea, and gymnasiums. The case confirms that where people engage in activities that involve a degree of unavoidable risk, they may have no recourse if they are injured, even if they are paying for the use of facilities and/or equipment.

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