What about Duty of Care?

They broke the rules and were injured. What about Duty of Care?

Student David broke the school rules and organised a recess fight with another student. David was brain injured as a result of the fight. Does the fact that David broke the rules and engaged in activity where he was likely to get hurt, diminish the school’s Duty of Care or liability?

The courts have organised that in certain circumstances when students knowingly put themselves at risk, those peoplecaring for the students have decreased liability. The concept is called contributory negligence – where the injured student has contributed to his or her own harm. In awarding damages there is a move towards proportioning liability and thus reducing settlements. However in a student-boarding context, even if the students are knowingly putting tgemeselves at risk<, there are two important things to consider:

1. It is difficult to define the concept of ‘knowingly’ in different situations,

2. Boarding supervisors have a duty to intervene and prevent risky behaviour.


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