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CHRISTOPHER WHIPPEY v ANDREW MICHAEL JONES

Before holding that a person's standard of care had fallen below the objective standard expected and so finding that he acted negligently, the court must be satisfied that a reasonable person in the position of the person who caused the incident would contemplate that injury was likely to follow from his acts or omissions; the remote possibility of injury was not enough.

14 April 2009

The appellant (W) appealed against a decision that he was liable in negligence to the respondent (J) for injury caused to J in an encounter with W's dog (H). J was running along a footpath in a park when H, a Great Dane, appeared from behind a bush and knocked J's shoulder causing him to lose his balance and fall down a slope breaking his ankle. W's accepted evidence was that he would only unleash H when he was satisfied that nobody was in the vicinity and that, on the date in question, he had checked to see if anybody was around and, having been satisfied that there was not, had unleashed H and lost sight of him for a period of time. H was a large dog and had a tendency to approach strangers and occasionally bark from a distance but he had no tendency to jump up at people. The judge decided that W was not liable to J under the Animals Act 1971 s.2(2), stating that J had failed to prove that the damage he had suffered was of a type which H was likely to cause, but that such damage w...

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