Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Laws
This thesis is concerned with a consideration of the liability in tort of an occupier of premises in respect of injury caused to persons coming on those premised from defects in the physical state of the premises. The term “Occupiers’ Liability” as it is usually understood, includes the liability of an occupier of premises for an injury cases through current activities or operations being carried out on the premises. That aspect of the subject must be considered, but it is the peculiar and complex rules relating to injury arising from defects in the premises which will receive most serious attention. As will be seen, entrants on to the premises are divided into four categories, and a corresponding duty is imposed on the occupier varying with the purposes for which the particular person mad his entry. One of these categories, that concerning persons entering premises in pursuit of contact, is not separately considered. Both the rules defining the category, and the duty imposed on the occupier towards its members, are determined as questions of a contractual nature, and thus involve different considerations from the rules relating to the remaining categories. Some aspects of this subject have been considered in a number of important recent New Zealand cases, where comments have been made as to the unsatisfactory nature of the present rules. The aim of this thesis is to consider these rules, and to assess whether they are realistic and result in justice, or whether New Zealand should follow the precept of England where the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 has considerably changed the law.