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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I have a small piece of land (about one tenth of an acre) bordering

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I have a small piece of land (about one tenth of an acre) bordering on public parkland. I am concerned that I should take out third party liability insurance, in case someone comes on to my plot and is injured by a falling branch, tripping over a root or some other accident. Should I do this to protect myself, or would it be equally effective to put up a simple fence, not an impassable barrier, but sufficient to make it clear that the land is private (perhaps with a 'Private' sign? If I do this, am I safe from being sued by anyone who crosses the line?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
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Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi I will try and help you
Do you keep anything on this land? machinery or the like? or cattle/sheep etc?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. Nothing on the land, and no commercial use.

Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the information.
The extent a person is responsible for things that occur on their land has always existed under common law, in that a person has a "duty of care" to people who are on their land to prevent harm coming to them. This is further codified in two acts of parliament Occupiers Liability Acts, and they govern people who you invite or are allowed on your land and trespassers. Without going into great detail they basically say that you must make sure that you do all things reasonable to prevent harm coming to either group of individuals.
This isn't a "strict" liability matter. So you would not be liable in every single incident, only those you could reasonable prevent. It is not reasonable to prevent someone tripping over a tree root, or other natural thing as this placed to high a burden on the property owner. However if you had, for example, dug a hole or left wood/metal on the land then anyone who was allowed on or trespassed and was injured may (not definitely) sue for damages.
It is certainly worth while putting a warning sign up or Private sign as this at least puts people on notice of the classification of the land, but as you cannot, by law, exclude all liability for personal injury it doesn't do much to keep you safe from being sued in the case of the examples above.
ON a practical level, for the actual cost of a Public liability policy, which is usually quite low, it may be worth getting just in case.
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience: I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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