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Public liability

Defence and supporting legal services relating to civil claims against international, national and local organisations, and their insurers.

As an area of law, public liability affects every business or organisation.  In insurance terms, it carries high value risks and the potential for major litigation proceedings. For multi-national insurers, corporations and public bodies, it creates a particular need for specialist legal advice and support.

Weightmans has been addressing these needs for many years, and members of our expert team have acquired significant expertise and experience in every aspect of public liability law and its application. We have a successful track record in defending a wide variety of claims including trips and slips, collisions, falls from height and property damage.

Our approach is to work in partnership with you as a client and to provide clear, informed advice at the earliest stage of every claim. This means we can quickly assess the prospects of successfully defending your case, and decide collectively whether a claim should be brought to trial or settled.

All this is based on gaining a thorough knowledge of your organisational objectives and a particular understanding of the circumstances of individual claims. Our experience covers a wide variety of environments including construction sites, factories and other work sites, shops, highways, parks and other natural land, vehicles and domestic properties.

We offer comprehensive advice on the interpretation and effect of relevant statutory provisions, including the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 in respect of visitors to premises, the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 in respect of trespassers, and the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

We also cover liability under principles of common law negligence, including advice on the existence of duty of care between existing or potential parties, and any causal breach of that duty. Our clients include employers and others with control over property, and our expertise includes the interpretation of contractual indemnities and the pursuit of Part 20 claims for contribution or indemnity from others.

In appropriate cases, we actively pursue claimants in respect of incidents caused through their own fault, particularly through carelessness, inattention or intoxication. Members of our team have handled a number of high profile public liability cases, including the House of Lords authority of Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council on trespassers, as well as other cases of national strategic importance.

As part of our value-for-money client service, we provide regular risk management and best practice advice to help avoid future claims, supported by regular information bulletins and bespoke site visits.