Should "no diving" signs be displayed in a residential swimming pool?
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Miss Grimes attended a summer party at her friend's, Katie Hawkins, house. The party was centred around the pool at Miss Hawkins father's house in Farnham, Surrey. The Court heard that 19 school leavers congregated at the house when Mr Hawkins was not there.
It appears that the party got out of hand when more people than expected turned up at the house. The lights were turned on around the pool but mist was coming off the pool as it was heated. Miss Grimes dived into the pool and struck her head on the bottom. The pool measured 30 foot by 15 foot. Miss Grimes suffered head and neck injuries and has been left tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.
Miss Grimes sued David Hawkins for approximately £6,0000.000, claiming he should be held legally responsible for the accident as "no diving" signs were situated around the pool. Her claim has been unsuccessful. Mrs Justice Thirwall held that Mr Hawkins was not required to adopt a paternalistic approach to his visitors, all of whom were adults and all of whom were making choices about their behaviour and exercising their free will. She did not accept that it is incumbent on a householder with a private swimming pool to prohibit adults from diving into an ordinary pool whose dimensions and contours can clearly be seen.
Whilst the circumstances of Miss Grimes accident are very sad I agree with the Court ruling. Miss Grimes chose to dive into the pool knowing the risks involved.
It would not be fair or reasonable to impose a duty of care on Mr Hawkins which would have required him to put his pool out of bounds at night or to prohibit adults from diving into the pool.
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