The Occupiers Liability Act 1995 is a governing legislation in respect of the duty a Business owes to a Visitor who enters onto its premises. The Civil Liability Act 1961 states that for an Occupier of a premises to be relieved from this duty a written Agreement between the Occupier and the Visitor must be entered into. The law therefore in that regard had been interpreted strongly in favour of the Visitor in the event that any accident befalls the Visitor. Changes to the law on Duty of Care have been proposed as part of the Government’s general commitment to Insurance reform in Ireland. Small and medium size Businesses have been complaining for over a decade that Insurance costs are prohibitive to doing business in Ireland and the reform of the Duty of Care contained under the Occupiers Liability Act is part of the Government’s initiative to bring down Insurance costs for business sectors. There are four proposed changes set out in the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill of 2022 which has been introduced by Minister McEntee in recent months. The four keys areas of reform can be summarised as follows: –
- A rebalancing of the Duty of Care owed by Occupiers to Visitors and recreational users.
- A change to the standard of clarity in respect of when the Occupier of a property has acted with reckless disregard to a Visitor or Customer.
- The circumstances where a Court can impose liability on the Occupier where a person is unlawfully entered onto a premises for the purposes of committing an offence will be limited.
- Where a Visitor or Customer voluntarily assumes a risk such an assumption will be set out in the amendments to the Act and liability arising therefrom will be curtailed. The proposed Bill will most likely go before the Oireachtas for enactment after the Summer recess break.
For further information please contact MDM Solicitors on 021 239 0620