A man whose family was attending the Appleby-in-Westmoreland Horse Fair was seriously injured when a horse, which had broken loose, kicked him in the head as he sought to restrain it with the result that he ended up being permanently disabled.
The Horse Fair is a centuries-old tradition and is promoted on the website of Appleby-in-Westmoreland Town Council. It is a major local attraction. The injured man sued the Council for damages, alleging that its negligence had led to his injury. He argued that the Council’s duty of care extended to making sure that visitors to the fair were covered by public liability insurance.
The Court of Appeal judges were unanimous in their view that the Council did not owe a duty of care to the man. Since the Council did not own the horse and was not responsible for it, did not own the land on which the Horse Fair took place, and neither controlled nor directed the activities which comprised the Fair, he could not claim against it: his claim for damages was therefore rejected.