Are you negligent or just a nuisance?

Bolton v. Stone [1951] is a leading House of Lords case in the tort of negligence, establishing that a defendant is not negligent if the damage was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of their conduct. Mrs Stone was hit by a cricket ball which had been hit out of the ground; Mr Bolton was a member of the club committee.

This case featured in The Guardian today – see – SHOULD be familiar to everyone who runs a club. It offers some comfort if you have ever worried about balls being hit out of your ground.

But what is foreseeable? And has it changed since 1951 with bigger bats and more building around clubs?

If not negligence, what about nuisance? Another famous piece of case law with a flying cricket balls context is Miller v Jackson [1977] where Mr Jackson was chairman of Lintz CC. Fortunately the lead judge in Court of Appeal was MCC member Lord Denning!

But risks are getting closer to home. It’s one of the reasons we incorporated; to provide the comfort of limited liability for club officers. But that doesn’t remove the increasing risk of dealing with these issues and local authorities’ insistence on expensive netting, covered in a previous discussion here

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