Iain O’Donnell represented West Sussex County Council in the Court of Appeal (Dyson MR, McFarlane LJ and Sharp LJ) in an important case on the occupier’s duty owed to pupils by schools – West Sussex County Council v Pierce [2013] EWCA Civ 1230.

Compensation awarded to a nine-year-old boy who injured his thumb on a water fountain while attempting to punch his brother at school has been overturned by a judge who said “such things happen”. The judgment makes it clear that schools cannot be hazard free zones for child visitors, and reaffirms the reasonable foreseeability of harm test set out in sections 2(2) and 2(3)(a) of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.