Judge in Ireland rules on playground fall

A child hurt herself falling on a playground in Dublin, Ireland, and this is what Mr. Justice Raymond Groarke of the Circuit Civil Court wrote:

She was engaged in a game of chase pure and simple and, while it is most regrettable that she became unbalanced and fell, this was simply an old fashioned accident and I fail to see any liability on the part of the school for that accident.

Lenore Skenazy comments:

Score one for those of us who understand that there is NO activity, even climbing out of bed, that is always 100% safe. So if we start outlawing activities that are generally, but not 100% completely safe, we will end up outlawing any movement whatsoever.

The judge also seems to realize that something is LOST even if a modicum of safety could be gained. Are kids really safer if they do NOT run around, use their bodies, burn calories, learn to play, deal with disappointment, organize their friends, and create something out of nothing — a game?

Nope. Kids need to play.

Reports The Independent: “The school did not seek an order for costs against the girl’s mother.”


  • As in most of Western Europe, Ireland has universal health insurance; both judges and juries know that the family will be spared from ruinous medical expenses in any case. The need to use America’s tort law as a (wasteful and capricious) substitute for universal health insurance is the original cancer from which all the abuses of our civil law have metastasized.

    Comprehensive health insurance reform seems to be deadlocked. Nevertheless, it might be possible to create workmen’s comp type coverage for injuries to children at schools and other public places, without need for speculative lawsuits. Let children exercise and grow like healthy children in other societies.

    In those rare cases where authorities are truly culpable for endangering children, the remedy is prosecution by the authorities.

    • Ditto.

  • Quite clearly, if this child suffers any sort of injury in her home, her parents should be ruled unfit. That’s the clear takeaway from her mother’s legal position.


  • There’s also the concept that pain and suffering can’t be given a monetary price, xo only very rare cases will have an award.
    Also, note that n this case (and others like it) the Judge determines any compensation – there’s no jury assessment.

    Lastly, in English law – and I believe in Irish law – there is a list of injuries and expected compensation issued to Judges. Of course, this can be only a guideline – a top surgeon who loses eg a hand, can sue for loss of earnings (its quantifiable).