The claimant used a wheelchair. When she arrived at a Ronan Keating concert she found that non-disabled people had been allowed into the designated disabled area. They sat in chairs around those in wheelchairs. At the end of the concert many members of the public stood up to leave.
A chair in front of her was pushed backwards and caught beneath her wheels and tipped her backwards and jammed her into a railing.
The claimant and her witnesses described the disabled area as “a cattle pen”. They said access to the enclosure was not monitored and people had simply gone in there to use the spare chairs.
The claim was brought on the basis of a breach of Section 2 (2) of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.
Disclosure of an HSE guide relating to the organisation of concerts was given. This was helpful in showing how woefully inadequate the arrangements were and how cramped the disabled area was. The Judge found in favour of the claimant. He ruled:
- There was inadequate room for manoeuvring wheelchairs within the enclosure.
The combination of public seating and wheelchairs was clearly dangerous; in any event if public seats and wheelchairs were to be put together seats should have been secured.
The entrance to the disabled enclosure had not been monitored adequately and allowed to become crowded.
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne County Court, 8 July 2008, HHJ Lancaster