Case Brief Wiki

Slater v Clay Cross[]


The Plaintiff was injured walking down a raliway tunnel. She realised that there was a train coming up behind her and got down on the ground to try and avoid it but her legs got run over. Locals in the area regularly and ordinarily used the railway tunnel as a shortcut and over the years, the railway company had done nothing to prevent this from happening. When entering the tunnel, the drivers were adviced to blow a whistle and slow down, in this occassion, that was not done.


Does knowledge amount to consent to negligence.


The court found in the Plaintiff's favour.


Lord Denning expressed that by walking throught the tunnel, the lady voluntarily took the risk of danger from the running of the railway in the ordinary and accustomed way, nevertheless, she did not take the risk of negligence by the driver.

By not taking any action over the years, the raliway company had essentially acquiesed to the use of the tunnel as a shortcut by the villagers. It was argued that this made the Plaintiff a licensee, one who has been permitted by the owners, rather than a trespasser, one who's presence in an area is unlawful.

Ratio Decendi[]

Knowledge of the danger is only a bar to action where the injury cn be said to be due solely to the party's own fault .Where knowledge of the danger is not such as to render the accident solely the fault of the injured party, then it is not a bar .