U.K.: “End this compensation nightmare, say judges”

“Britain’s most senior judges have demanded an end to ‘the culture of blame and compensation’ in a landmark ruling which decrees that individuals must take responsibility for their own actions. The Appellate Committee of the House of Lords has used its judgement in a compensation case to brand Britain’s growing U.S.-style claims system as an ‘evil’ that interferes with civil liberties and freedom of will.” Ruling in the case of a man who sued local councils after he ignored safety warnings and hurt himself diving into a lake, the judges warned that continued expansion of liability “has many evil consequences and one is certainly the interference with the liberty of the citizen” as well as the imposition of “a grey and dull safety regime on everyone.” An example of the latter? “This year, a historic cheese rolling event in Gloucestershire, in which participants race down a hill chasing cheeses, was cancelled because of safety fears.” (Charlotte Edwardes, Daily Telegraph, Aug. 3). “[E]ven rugby, incredibly, is under threat from the compensation culture. There is such a terror of litigation that the number of independent schools offering rugby has fallen by 30 per cent over the past 15 years.” (Boris Johnson, “Knock some sense into the children”, Daily Telegraph, Aug. 7). Plus: decision in Tomlinson v. Congleton Borough Council, via Southern Appeal)(& welcome Volokh Conspiracy readers).


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    Common Good, a new body led by Covington vice-chairman Philip Howard, is aiming to kill off the claim culture in the US. Jon Robins asks: is this public spirit, or just self-interest? . . . [W]hen The Lawyer spoke…

  • U.K.: defending assumption of risk

    There’s been much attention (and deservedly so) to the recent ruling of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords in Tomlinson v. Congleton Borough Council (see Aug. 11), which vigorously and eloquently defended the principle of assumption of risk…