Blake v Galloway [2004]: Case Analysis

Blake v Galloway: Case Summary

The Claimant (a fifteen year old boy), was with friends when he threw a piece of tree bark at his friend’s leg, the friend then threw the bark back at him, which consequently hit him in the eye causing serious injury. The Claimant contended that the injury was brought about by the negligence of the Defendant. The volenti non fit injuria defence was then raised by the Defendant however this was rejected and the judge held that the damages should be reduced by 50%.

Blake v Galloway: Download Judgment

Blake v Galloway: Case Analysis

The leading judgment was provided by Dyson LJ who made a distinction between “informal horseplay” and formal sports/games. His Lordship stated that although there were no formal rules to the game in question, there would have been a “tacit understanding” of the game’s rules and the participants would have been aware of the risks involved and in particular “the very nature of the activity [made] it difficult to avoid the risk of physical harm”.

Dyson LJ stated that in these circumstances, recklessness or a high degree of carelessness would only be exhibited if a participant in the game detracted from the rules i.e. by deliberating aiming a stone at a person’s head.

“This was a most unfortunate accident, but it was just that. Young persons will always want to play vigorous game and indulge in horseplay, and from time to time accidents will occur and injuries will be caused. But, broadly speaking, the victims of such accidents “

Dyson LJ, Blake v Galloway [2004]

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