New laws to better protect farmers from claims by ‘recreational users’ of their land
New laws are at an advanced stage to better protect landowners from being sued by so called recreational users of their land following injury or property damage.
Currently the Occupiers Liability Act 1995 provides protection to landowners with regards to recreational users on their land.
It sets out that the person with responsibility for the land will generally be the occupier of the land - whether they are the occupier as a result of a lease or license etc will depend on the agreed terms of the license/lease.
But a general rule of thumb is that the person in control of the property is responsible for any breaches of duty.
That being said, in many cases the injured party will sue both the occupier and the land owner (where they are different people), although this is not the correct legal procedure it may be done as a precaution if there is uncertainty as to who is responsible and legal costs can be incurred.
Land owners should certainly keep an eye that the occupier is taking reasonable precautions.
In addition to the protection afforded under the Occupiers Liability Act 1995, an insurance policy is held by the National Trails Office which indemnifies all landowners and occupiers whose property or land is crossed or adjoins a “Recreational Trail”, provided the trail has been inspected and approved by the National Trails Office.
The cover extends to liability attaching to the land or property owner arising from a user of the “Recreational Trail” sustaining accidental bodily injury or property damage when on the land of the owner for recreational or leisure activities connected with the designated Recreational Trail.