We use cookies to improve our site and your experience. By continuing to browse on this website you accept the use of cookies. Read more...

Dawkins v Carnival PLC [2011] EWCA Civ 1237

The Claimant (“C”) sustained soft tissue injuries to her knees and hands when she slipped on water in the cafeteria Conservatory area of the Defendant’s (“D”) cruise ship.

At trial the Recorder found that the possibility of spillages and someone slipping in the cafeteria were obviously foreseeable, and imposed upon D a clear duty to operate a reasonably effective system for getting rid of spilt liquid and minimising the danger it might cause. Applying the guidance of Ward v Tesco, the Recorder considered the D’s inspection system and found that spillages would be picked up almost instantaneously by the full contingent of staff; however, no evidence was given by any member of staff present in the Conservatory on the day of the accident. The Court of Appeal described this as a “significant omission” given the number of staff in the area and their provision of assistance to C after the accident.The Recorder, however, found that the weight of the evidence showed that the D did all that was required of them in establishing a proper system to ensure the safety of their passengers and dismissed the claim. C appealed.

The CA accepted that if the probability is of the spillage being contemporaneous with the accident, that remedial action could not reasonably be taken during the gap between them, the claim would fail; but, “The absence of evidence from one or more of the many members of staff claimed to be present in the Conservatory at the material time is remarkable. ... in the absence of evidence from members of staff claimed to be implementing the system, the judge was not entitled to infer from the existence of a system that the spillage which led to the fall occurred only a few seconds, or a very short time, before the accident.” The claim succeeded on the evidence.

/ 1st Nov 2011


The information and any commentary on the law contained on this web site is provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by any member of Chambers. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments on this site. No responsibility is accepted for the content or accuracy of linked sites.

Download as PDF

Back to News


Get In Touch

If you like what you've read but want to know more about how we can help you, simply call us:

020 7797 8300

Alternatively you can  send us an email and a member of our team will contact you as soon as possible.