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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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This situation occurred a couple of days ago and I am not sure

Customer Question

This situation occurred a couple of days ago and I am not sure if there is anything that can be done. My concern is that it could so easily happen again.
My daughter (18 yrs & a couple of weeks) was invited to and went to the 18th birthday party of a close friend, at his house - we dropped her there and we went out.
She and her friend agreed to match each other for drinks (as you do when you've just turned 18) and proceeded to get very drunk on the front driveway of the privately owned detached house. At some point the drinking causes her to throw up on the driveway. The parents of the boy whom she was drinking with (whose party it is) decide she must go.
They call a cab 9pm'ish, pay for the cab, have her bodily handled into the cab as she couldn't get in herself, which is then ordered to take her to her home address. She cannot remember getting out of the cab. We found her there just after 12am passed out on our driveway a couple of feet from the payment and the door, in my view, simply lucky to be unharmed. At no point were we contacted - although the boy's parent have our contact details, they admitted they did not see that they needed to.
Firstly I'd like to think some form of sanction would be possible - to me this is blatant lack of due regard for the safety of a person clearly not able to take care of themselves, further I believe they went out of their way to PUT her in harms way because she would not commit to a serious relationship with their son, her friend. Secondly, they have a younger son who, along with his friends, regularly hold parties and get drunk at the house even though they are under 18. My concern is that if these 'parents' think its OK to act as described above an they do it again, perhaps that child may not be so lucky.
I feel I need to do something - I don't know what though :(
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : Did she drink by choice or were her drinks spiked please?
Alex Watts : which part are you critical of, the fact they put her in a taxi?
JACUSTOMER-hk6d2hbg- :

I believe she drank by choice, but cannot claim the drinks were spiked. Having been to this house many times as a guest, she was drinking with her host on the assumption she was within a secure environment, with a way of getting home later whatever time that may have been. Her choice would certainly have been different had she known she would be ejected at a much earlier point in the evening. I am critical of the facts that a) she was physically put in a cab against her will b) based on the premise she was too drunk to stay there, she was sent to a location where nobody else was present, a circumstance they didn't even enquire

JACUSTOMER-hk6d2hbg- :

...about. they may just as well have sent her off to a parking lot.

JACUSTOMER-hk6d2hbg- :

c) given that her decision making capacity was impaired (why else call a taxi for her and place her in it and tell the driver where to go) at no point was anybody informed of what was happening to her or where she was beong taken.

Alex Watts : The difficulty is she is 18
Alex Watts : She has a choice to make her own decisions,
Alex Watts : She has a choice to drink.
Alex Watts : She could have stopped
Alex Watts : At what age should a person be responsible for their own actions?
Alex Watts : The law says this is 18
Alex Watts : Do you have a sanction in law - no
Alex Watts : This is because of two things
Alex Watts : First she is 18 and can make her own choices. She chose to drink too much, she could have stopped or just had a couple but decided not to do so.
Alex Watts : second is no Injury occured.
Alex Watts : To have a claim in negligence there needs to be an injury or a loss
Alex Watts : In this case she was found on the driveway.
Alex Watts : One could argue that they could have left her and get her to make her own way back, but they decided to put her in a taxi
Alex Watts : You said that she was body handled into the cab - but if she was that drunk how did she know?
Alex Watts : They called a cab which in my view shows they are responsible.
Alex Watts : If there is to be any criticism it may be of the cab driver for not seeing that she did not get to the house.
Alex Watts : But again we come back to the point - she is 18 and is responsible for her own actions.
Alex Watts : What age do you put the cut off where someone looks after themself? 25?
Alex Watts : in that case they would not be able to make their own mind up about things, enter into contracts or get married.
Alex Watts : She was lucky, but this is a lesson for her to moderate drinking and take responsibility.
Alex Watts : sadly there is no action against the host. They called a cab, got her in to make sure she was safe.
Alex Watts : I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.
Alex Watts : If there had been some injury there is a possibility of a sanction.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
JACUSTOMER-hk6d2hbg- :

I appreciate the honesty, thats all I can ask. Yes, there is a lesson here - trust no-one - but I suppose thats not a legal matter, more a social one. Agree completely about the age of responsibility, but I still can't get my head around where her will stopped being important to her hosts and theirs took over. Had she known that she was NOT going to be treated like anyone else at the party (i.e. left to sober up, parents, guardians contacted) then her choices would have been informed and in all probability different. When confronted the mother of the boy kept on about her son's broken heart ! She'd already confronted my daughter about this in the time before the cab was arranged ! I can't escape the sense this was intentionally done to cause distress. The getting her into the cab was done by the hosts and their friend - they told me that themselves. Is this genuinely a cul-de-sac ?

Alex Watts : Sadly yes.
Alex Watts : She is 18, she should look after herself.
Alex Watts : If her drinks had been spiked the situation may be different.
Alex Watts : But she also has to take responsibility for what she has done.
Alex Watts : But no injury - no sanction.
Alex Watts : I am sorry,
Alex Watts : Does this clarify?
Alex Watts :

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