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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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In a religious organisation which is registered as a

Customer Question

In a religious organisation which is registered as a charity. are the INDIVIDUAL trustees of the charity held legally responsible if a volunteer is attacked or injured by a member of the public while undertaking their voluntary (evangelizing) duties in public areas?
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 17 days ago.

The only time that the organisation would be liable is if the organisation has been negligent in some way as it may have been if it has failed to provide training or advise volunteers of the risk.

I think it unlikely in the extreme that a claim against the organisation, from the individual would succeed quite simply because it isn’t reasonably foreseeable that the volunteer going about their evangelical duties in public, would be attacked by a member of the public.

I don’t know whether that’s the answer you want because I don’t know whether you are looking at this from the point of view of the organisation or the individual but at least then, you know that you have an impartial view.

Can I clarify anything arising from this?

I am happy to answer specific questions arising from this?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Hello and thank you for the information. My concern is the responsibility which the individual trustee of the charitable trust would bear if any volunteer undertaking work on behalf of the charity were to come to some harm while so doing, if for example a woman chose to carry out her volunteer duties alone, after having been advised not to do so by the trustees? Would the trustees be held responsible? If for example the woman had family who did not approve of her choice to undertake such voluntary work, could they hold trustees responsible in law?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I am concerned with the INDIVIDUAL TRUSTEE's legal position, not the organisation as a whole.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
of course I will rate you positively, just as soon as we have finished this conversation! I did sent you further details this morning already, because I asked the question concerning an INDIVIDUAL and your answer concerned an ORGANISATION.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 16 days ago.

When I referred to organisation I was referring to the members and the trustees.

After all, the organisation itself is made up of individuals.

In my opinion, if someone is going about their evangelical work and gets mugged or attacked, that is not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of doing the work and would not be as a result of any negligence on the part of the trustees or any organising members.

It may be that the trustees are liable in negligence if they fail to provide training or a safe system of work but for someone to get mugged for example, whilst going about their duty, I cannot see how that would be the fault of the trustees. For example, if a postman got attacked and robbed, it would not be the fault of the post office.

For the trustees to be liable, there has to be a duty of care and the duty of care has to have been breached. Whilst there is a duty of care here, I cannot see that if someone gets attacked, that duty has been breached.

If the individual was not warned of the risk of being attacked when going about this work, I cannot see that the trustees would be liable for that either. There is a possibility that someone might try to bring a claim but I think it unlikely in the extreme that it would succeed.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thank you for the clarification, I have given you a 5 star rating. This is a great service, glad I found your website!!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 16 days ago.

I am pleased that I was able to assist you. Best wishes.

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