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R v X & X


Dominic Adamson secured acquittals of two organisations, a parent and a subsidiary, charged with breaches of s.3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the duty to ensure safety of non-employees).  The subsidiary was also charged with a breach of s. 2 of the Act (the duty in respect of employees). 

The parent was contracted to operate and manage leisure centres on behalf of a local authority.  It delivered that service through its subsidiaries.  An incident which resulted in injury to a member of the public occurred at one of the centres. 

The case hinged on whether the parent and relevant subsidiary could establish that they had taken all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of non-employees and, with respect to the subsidiary, employees.  It was not in dispute that local management, employed by the subsidiary, had not complied with group safety and waste management policy.   The parent and subsidiary argued that:

  1. the group safety and waste management policy and procedure were appropriate and adequate;
  2. they arranged for and provided suitable and sufficient training to the experienced local management who had been transferred into the subsidiary’s employment when the parent entered the contract just over a year before the incident; and
  3. they implemented an adequate system of regional management supervision and oversight which covered the location.  Regional management were not aware of the non-compliance with group policy.

Accordingly the parent and subsidiary contended that they had done all that was reasonably practicable to ensure safety.  Reliance was placed on the reasoning in R v Nelson Group Services Limited [1999] 1 WLR 1526 and related authorities.   The parent and subsidiary were found not guilty of all charges. 

Related Barristers

Health & Safety
Personal Injury
Product Liability

Dominic Adamson KC

Call 1997 | Silk 2020

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Related Practice Areas

Health & Safety



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