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Andre Henry Cleminson v. John Addley Limited and Croda Resins Limited


Personal injury, damages, contributory negligence


 Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

Act, Regulation or Reference:

Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA)

Date: 1999


Mr C was employed by John Addeley Limited and they were contracted to clean certain industrial chemical tanks at the premises of Croda Resins Ltd.
Mr C slipped and fell from the top of the tank suffering personal injuries. There was no scaffolding or guardrail to the rear of the tank. The HSE investigated the accident and as a result criminal proceedings were started.
The first defendants:
Guilty to a breach of Section 1 of the HSWA 1974
The second defendants:
Pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3 (1) of the HSWA. Each was fined a substantial sum of money. In their defence the second defendants, as occupiers, admitted a breach of Section 29 (1) and sub-section (2) of the
Factories Act 1961.
The defendants mounted a joint defence admitting negligence for failure to provide a guard rail and agreed that Mr C should recover damages, subject to a reduction for his contributory negligence for not looking out where he was putting his foot.
The court agreed and Mr C appealed that no reduction should have been made for contributory negligence.

The Decision

LORD JUSTICE OTTON: said in summing up, “I would come to the conclusion that there is no ground for disturbing this assessment, [the Deputy High Court Judge ‘Lachs’]. In coming to that conclusion, I also bear in mind it is well established that an appellate court ought not to interfere with a trial judge's apportionment of responsibility for damages unless it can be shown that he erred in principle or misapprehended the facts or is clearly seen as being wrong. In those circumstances I have come to the conclusion that the judge did not err in principle nor did he misapprehend the facts nor is it shown that he was clearly wrong. In those circumstances I would dismiss this appeal.”


John Summers & Sons v Frost [1955]
Ryan v Manbre Sugars Ltd (1970)
Davies v Swan Motor Company (Swansea ) [1949]
Chrisman v Electromation (Export) Ltd [1969].