AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Imagine you have just finished building your dream home, complete with swimming pool and hot-tub. You and your family, including the family dog, have just moved in. You decide to have a house warming party and invite over several dozen of your closest friends. Sounds like fun, right? Wrong! While it can be fun and entertaining to host your friends, that situation can change quickly if someone has an accident at your home and gets hurt. Your house can be fraught with potential civil liability if someone is hurt on your premises.
Liability of a homeowner for people injured on her premises is typically classified as occupier's liability law. Some Canadian provinces have enacted legislation to deal with occupier's liability, while some provinces only have the common law. In the common law - law which has slowly developed over time through judges' interpretation of past cases - an occupier of land owed a duty to people who entered upon her premises. An occupier does not necessarily mean the owner of the property, but is the person in control or possession of the land. The person who had possession of the property was responsible for harm that fell upon visitors. So for example, a tenant could potentially be liable to visitors to the premises, but the landlord would not typically be liable since the landlord is no longer in control of the land.
The duty owed by the occupier to the visitor, however, depended upon the status of that visitor. At one end of the spectrum, an occupier had a low duty to trespassers to the premises. Hidden traps could not be placed for trespassers, but obvious deterrents, such as barbed wire on top of a chain link fence, could be employed. Accidental, and even negligent, injury inflicted upon a trespasser by the occupier gave the trespasser no right to sue the occupier.
A potentially higher duty was owed to a paid entrant under a contract with the occupier. A classic …