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Glasgow Corporation v Taylor [1922] 1 AC 44

Tort law – Negligence – Causation

Facts

The father of a seven-year-old boy sued the Glasgow Corporation for damages following the death of his son who died as a result of eating berries from a poisonous plant that was growing in the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow. The gardens were open to the public and managed by the defendant.  The father argued that the defendants allowed children to pass through their grounds frequently yet did not take any action to warn or alleviate the danger caused by the poisonous plant to children. The plant was enclosed by a wooden fence which was open to the public and easily accessed by children.

Issue

The question for the court was whether this raised any grounds of appeal for there to be a trial against the defendants for their liability. It was important for the court to consider in this case whether the defendant was negligent in the death of the claimant. It was particularly important to understand the steps that the defendant had taken to prevent the danger caused by the fact that the poisonous berries in question would be particularly attractive to young children.

Held

The court held that the Glasgow Corporation was liable in this instance. They had permitted children to go on to the land and it is understandable that the berries would have appealed to visiting children, thus representing a danger. The defendants were aware of this danger caused by the poisonous berries and did nothing to prevent the damage. On this basis, the action was required to proceed to trial.


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