Invitees–‐Notice of Unusual Dangers

Publication Date01 Nov 1955
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1955.tb00337.x
AuthorF. E. Dowrick
Nov.
1955
NOTES
OF
CASES
623
possibility of Salmond J.’s theory being accepted elsewhere than
in New Zealand,
Campbell
Q
Bradley
v.
Ward
may be offered as
a
substitute.
P.
B.
A.
SIM.
INVITEES-NOTICE
OF
UNUSUAL DANGERS
To the formidable list of common law judges who have rejected
the principle upon which the majority of the House of Lords
decided
London Graving Dock Co., Ltd.
v.
Horton
[1951]
A.C.
737
all the members of the Irish Supreme Court may now be added.
A
Note on the contrary and novel opinion of one Irish judge,
Kingsmill Moore
J.,
in
Long
v.
Saorstat Continental Steamship
Co.,
Ltd.
(1953,
still unreported) appeared in these pages last
year: vol.
17,
pp.
160-2.
Now in
lllaguire
v.
Pacific Steam
Navigation Co., Ltd.
(1955,
unreported as yet) the Irish Supreme
Court has unanimously adopted and applied this opinion.
In the latest case M., the plaintiff, was a docker, employed by
a firm of stevedores, whose duty was to help in unloading the cargo
of
a
ship belonging
to
the defendants. While
M.
was engaged
upon
this work part of the cargo fell on him and caused him substantial
injuries. A net which the defendants had erected to guard against
such an event proved ineffective. The facts found by the jury, that
the cargo constituted an unusual danger, and that the defendants
knew
or
ought to have known of
it,
were not contested in the
Supreme Court. The findings that
M.
was not himself negligent
and that he had not voluntarily accepted the risk of injury were
confirmed on appeal. But the Supreme Court did hold that the
finding that M. did not know of the danger could not stand.
Given then that the plaintiff knew of the danger, the very same
problem which confronted the House of Lords in
Horton’s
case was
now before the Irish Supreme Court. As the Chief Justice said:
“The question to be considered is whether an invitor can be held
liable in tort for injury caused by the dangerous state of his
premises of which he knew
or
ought to have known to an invitee
who though sciens was neither volens nor careless of his own
safety.” He noted that the majority of the House of Lords in
Horton’s
case held that the invitee’s knowledge of the unusual risk
exonerated the occupiers from liability for the damage sustained
by the invitee. But he preferred to adopt the contrary opinion of
Kingsmill Moore
J.
in
Long’s
case,
supra.
Applying this principle
to the facts he held that the shipowners,
as
occupiers, had failed
to use reasonable care to prevent damage to the plaintiff.
Accordingly, under the principle of
Indermaur
v.
Dames
(1866)
L.R.
1
C.P.
274,
the shipowners were liable to the plaintiff.
Lavery, O’Daly and Maguire
JJ.
concurred. Kingsmill Moore
J.,
of course, agreed with this judgment, but took the opportunity of
restating his view of the relevance of notice
:

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