What the puck was that?! An analysis of Browning v. Odyssey, examining the liability of sports arena owners in negligence for spectator safety

Jennifer Jolley

Abstract


This paper will look at the reasoning and legal principles applied by the judge in the recent ice hockey spectator case of Browning v Odyssey [2014] NIQB 39. This paper will analyse and compare English cases with those from other jurisdictions to show how this area of law has developed. Academic opinion and judicial reasoning will be brought in to support the discussion on whether the current position allows for fair and consistent decisions, and alternatives will be suggested where this does not appear to be so.

In particular, the paper will analyse a number of specific areas including: the standard of care owed to sports spectators by sports arena owners, whether a higher standard of care should be owed to children and the extent to which a risk can be so small that it is justifiable for the reasonable man to ignore it. Finally, different sports will be compared to see what is classed as an inherent risk, whether it is fair to claim that these risks are similar throughout all sports and whether there should be the same expectations in the warm up as in the main event.

Keywords: Negligence, Occupiers’ Liability, Personal Injury, Spectator Safety, Ice Hockey, Inherent risk


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