New legislation has come into effect as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform, with measures that may reduce claims and the cost of insurance for businesses.
The law aims to rebalance the duty of care between occupiers such as businesses, community groups and organisers of events, and visitors, recreational users and trespassers.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said: “What we’re doing with this new law is saying that if you go into a business or if you injure yourself where there has been reasonable steps taken by the proprietor to keep you safe then you have to take a level of responsibility.
“Perhaps an outdoor space where the business owner has put in steps to go up a grassy verge, but a person arrives and decides to walk up the side of the grass, instead of taking those steps and they slip and fall then there has to be a level of responsibility.”
Under the legislation, Minister McEntee added that limits will also be placed on the circumstances in which a court can impose liability on the occupier where a person has entered onto premises in order to commit a crime.
Brian Hanley, chief executive of Alliance for Insurance Reform, said the legislative change stands to benefit whole sectors of society.
“The legislation restricts the circumstances in which trespassers may pursue a successful claim. Up until now liability could only be waived by written agreement, the legislation significantly expands the circumstances in which such liability can now be waived, there is a voluntary assumption of risk,” he said.