Last updated 12 May 2016     This chapter is currently under review.

Exclusion signs

Signs that say ‘No Trespassers’ are legally meaningless. They do not turn an entrant into a trespasser and cannot exclude the duty of care owed by an occupier to a trespasser. However, such signs may have the desirable effect of discouraging unwanted visitors.

Signs which say ‘No Hawkers, Peddlers or Salesmen’ will render such people trespassers if they enter the premises. Trespassers, as discussed above, are generally owed the general duty of care as owed by an occupier to other entrants. Normally, the law implies consent by the occupier to the entrance of such individuals, at least as far as the front door.

Warning signs

A sign warning of a danger (e.g. slippery stairs) may protect an occupier from liability if the warning is considered adequate to protect the entrant from injury.

No liability signs

A sign which says ‘No liability accepted for any type of injury’ may be sufficient to completely exclude an occupier’s liability to an entrant if reasonable steps were taken to ensure that the sign could be seen and read by the entrant (see Ashdown v Samuel Williams & Sons Ltd [1957] 1 QB 409).

However, the law is far from certain, and it would be unwise for an occupier to seek to avoid responsibility for some danger in the premises by simply stipulating that no liability is accepted. An attempt should be made to eliminate dangers as far as practicable, and an entrant should be at least warned of any known dangers.

Insurance

Occupiers should insure against risk of liability, although coverage for residential premises is often included in standard householder’s insurance and contents insurance policies. An insurance company should be notified of any injury or potential claim as soon as possible.