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Tort Law

Question 1
The route of a marathon runs past the offices of Prime International Bank (hereafter: ‘the Bank’). To take advantage of this the Bank invites several of its most loyal customers to watch the race, which takes place on a Sunday, from its office windows. Lois, an employee of the Bank, is put in charge of the event but nobody reminds her that the Bank has arranged to have the third floor of its offices refurbished by Taylor Builders during the month when the marathon will take place. Lois only remembers the refurbishment after she has sent invitations to more clients than can comfortably fit round the windows in the second floor offices. On the Friday before the event she asks Niko, the site manager for Taylor Builders, to make sure that all the doors to the third floor offices are locked before he leaves the site on Saturday afternoon. Niko forgets to do this. Other employees of Taylor Builders leave a large pane of glass leaning against a wall in the third floor offices.
So many people attend the event and crowd round the second floor windows that Anita, an invited customer, climbs on to a desk to try to see over them. She gets the heel of her shoe stuck in a hole cut in the desk for cabling and falls, breaking her ankle. Patrick, another invited customer, decides to avoid the crush by trying to view the race from a higher floor. Lois sees Patrick heading upstairs but decides not to challenge him because he is a valuable client who she does not want to embarrass, and she does not expect him to be able to get into the third floor offices. Patrick opens the door to the third floor offices but they are dark and he badly cuts his right hand on the glass when feeling along the wall for a light switch. Patrick faints and blood from his cut ruins his expensive jacket.
When Patrick does not return Lois asks Steve to go upstairs and look for him. Steve is a security guard employed by an agency that provides the Bank security services. Steve enters the third floor offices but trips over Patrick’s leg and falls against the pane of glass severely injuring his ear.
Advise Anita, Patrick, and Steve as to possible claims under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984.

 

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Question 5
Lisa Atkins, a well-known actress, was married to Jerry Carter, the CEO of Brookfield County Council. The couple attracted much media interest and often appeared in the local newspaper, Brookfield Daily, in photos taken at social and public events.
Lisa’s new film generated a lot of buzz. She was invited to a popular talk show, Saturday Evening. On the show, Lisa said ‘I don’t understand how people can be pescatarians! And I cannot stand people who ‘preach’ about it.’
A few days later, a review of Lisa’s new film appeared in the Gloomy Moon, a national newspaper. In a scathing review, the movie critic Steve Martin (who is a strong supporter of pescetarianism) described Lisa’s performance as ‘abysmal’. He wrote that Lisa had no real talent and was a ‘disgrace to the acting profession’. He also wrote: ‘Lisa must have paid someone or done dirty favours to be cast as the lead actress, how else could a B-grade soap opera actor rise to prominence?’ No other comments about Lisa’s performance were made.
Meanwhile, a photograph of Jerry arm in arm with two women was published in Brookfield Daily, with the headline ‘CASANOVA JERRY!’ and the following text: ‘Naughty CEO of the local council cannot get enough! Poor Lisa!’. The women in the picture were not named. As it turned out, they were in fact Jerry’s cousins, and Jerry was not cheating on his wife.
Tanith, a former secretary of Jerry, was an active blogger on Know the Truth, a website about corruption in England hosted by Delta.com. In a blog post, that was highly critical of Jerry, she alleged the following:
‘Corruption runs deep in Brookfield County Council. The CEO, Jerry Carter, operates a slush fund from which he benefits his cronies by financial endowments and assistance. Also, Jerry is a notably self-indulgent person in his private life.’
Before posting the above, Tanith rang Jerry to obtain his response but there was no answer. The blog post was seen by five readers and by Lisa the next morning. Concerned about Jerry, Lisa contacted Delta.com asking for the blog post to be taken down, but it remained on the website for a whole month. Thereafter, the representatives of Delta.com contacted Tanith and she deleted her post.
Advise Lisa and Jerry.
Question 6
Faber College built a new Student Recreation Centre (hereafter ‘the Centre’). Brenda, a solicitor, lives next to the construction site. She runs a luxury bed and breakfast in her house. Chadwick, an American music producer, was temporarily (i.e., during the construction and a few months after it) living in an annex to Brenda’s house in return for weekly payments. While the construction works proceeded at a tolerable volume, Brenda, whose room faces the Centre, noticed that the workmen looked into her room from the construction site and even took photographs on their mobile phones. Brenda felt disturbed by this and as a result her work became shoddy, which severely affected her chances of being promoted to partner.
The construction of the Centre required a considerable amount of concrete. The builders therefore placed ten tons of cement in a huge vat near the wire fence that separated Brenda’s house from the construction site. One day, the cement leaked from the vat and large quantities of cement flowed into Brenda’s garden. In addition to damaging the garden (including Brenda’s beloved hydrangeas), the cement ruined her car, which was parked on the driveway. On investigation, it appeared that the material of the vat was corroded by the cement, causing the leak. About 75% of construction companies would have used the same type of vat to store the cement.
Following the construction and opening of the Centre, Faber College allowed its students to have parties in the Centre until midnight on weekdays, and until 2am on weekends. The noise from the parties could be heard in Brenda’s house. Brenda’s stress of being frequently woken up exacerbated an existing skin condition she had. Moreover, since the opening of the Centre, the income from Brenda’s bed and breakfast has fallen by 30%. As for Chadwick, he could not produce music due to the noise. He alleges that his inability to produce music has severely jeopardised his chances to win the Music Awards 2022. Chadwick has won the previous three iterations and is poised to win the upcoming one.
Advice Brenda and Chadwick on their rights under the torts of private nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher.