What is Occupier's liability?
There is a duty on the occupiers of land to show care
towards a person entering the land. The occupier should take enough care that
is reasonable to see that the person entering the land will not suffer injury
What is an 'occupier of premises'?
An occupier of premises refers to anyone that occupies or
has control of land.
This could include circumstances where you assume
responsibility for areas adjacent to your property, such as, by undertaking
maintenance of the land or utilising the land in a certain way. Activities such
as gardening or maintaining vegetation, storing vehicles on the land, using the
land as an access way, or having signage or advertising displayed, are
potential exercises of control that could amount to occupation of the land.
In these circumstances, you may be considered an 'occupier
of premises' and as such, occupier's liability could apply to you, regardless
of who actually owns the land and whether or not you have any legal interest in
What are the risks?
As a consequence, if someone were to suffer injury on the
land that you occupy or control, even if the land is owned by another party,
such as the council or shire, or a neighbouring business, then you could be
made to pay compensation or damages in respect of damage suffered.
What should you do?
Occupiers of land have to exercise a duty of care towards
people that enter the land. The exercise of care that must be taken by an
occupier is such care that would be reasonable to prevent a person from
suffering injury or damage.
The measures that you will be required to take to prevent
injury occurring to entrants on the land depends on a number of factors, some
of which include:
- The likelihood that a person will incur the injury on the
- The type of premises;
- The age of entrants or potential entrants to the premises;
- The ability of entrants to be aware of the danger of injury;
- The burden of eliminating the risk compared to the risk of
the danger to the entrant.
If you consider it is foreseeable that a person could suffer
injury on the premises you are occupying, and the injury you foresee is a risk
that is caused by your occupation of the premises, then you should take care to
remove the risk and check your public liability policy with your broker.
Call and speak to one of our insurance specialists for any
specific concerns you may have.