- A tragic death on the London Underground—the High Court considers the definition of trespass, the ambit of The Occupiers’ Liability Acts 1957 and 1984 and co-existent duties at common law (Ovu v London Underground Ltd)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What was decided?
- The claimant was a trespasser
- A relevant duty was not owed to Mr Ovu at the time of his death
- Case details
PI & Clinical Negligence analysis: On a freezing night in January 2017, while travelling intoxicated on the night tube, Mr Ovu walked through marked emergency access doors into a non-public area of Canning Town tube station. Those one-way doors were later closed behind him by station staff. Seemingly unaware that he could leave the station via a further set of doors at the end of the open-air emergency exit route, Mr Ovu walked to and fro for some time before falling from a staircase to his death. His body was not discovered for six hours. Having determined that Mr Ovu was a trespasser at the time of his death, the judge considered the ambit and extent of statutory and common law duties owed to him by London Underground. The judge concluded that such duties did not encompass the risk of falling from stairs and sustaining injury, that finding leading to the dismissal of the claim. Written by Christopher Walker, barrister at Devereux Chambers.
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