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Case Study Uxbridge University

PART A: Dabir

Dabir’s case relates directly to the occupier’s liability and the rights of the visitors. It is crucial to note that visitors are individuals who legally use the premise in their capacity as employees, customers or house occupiers in any given place. In this situation, Dabir is an employee of the Uxbridge University meaning that he is a legal visitor in any given area of the university.

The entire case of his car being stolen would be guided by the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957, which emphasises that all individuals who have control over premises or land owe a duty of care to all their legal visitors (Jones 2013, p. 395). The legal principles asserted by the Act extend to areas of employment where employers are expected to ensure that the property is protected adequately. Unlawful commissions or omissions leading to the damage or the loss of the property would attract damages under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957.

In this case, it is clear that Dabir is a legal visitor to Uxbridge University in his position as an employee of the university. It implies that the university owes him a duty of care and has to protect him and his property while at the university. It would be the starting point for Dabir’s argument, as he tries to verify the case of the car loss. According to the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957, the university expressly owes Dabir a duty of care in respect to his property (Adams 2012, p. 306). It should put everything in place to ensure that the property is effectively protected from any form of damage or loss when in the university premises. While trying to argue from such perspective, Dabir should also remember that the university only allows individuals living more than ten miles away from the university. However, there is also a provision that 50% of staff members would qualify for the spaces on a first come first served basis. With the allowance of spaces for 50% more of staff members, Dabir’s car was at the staff parking space legally because he arrived early and was fully entitled to utilize the staff parking place. The qualification of his car to be in the car park on a first come first served basis would be instrumental in setting the ground for the case. For instance, Marson (2013, p. 309 ) confirms that he could use the common law judgment in The Calgarth (1927) to confirm that he had all the rights to use the staff parking space in an ordinary way. It means that he could use it just like all other staff members who live more than ten miles from the university and come to school early.

More so, it is clear that the security men at the university did not do enough to protect his car from being stolen. The park attendant expressly told Dabir that he had not cared to check the registration number against the record bearing names of staff members before allowing the car to leave the compound. The park attendant had acted negligently by not following the university’s tradition of verifying the registration number against every staff member who left. It means that Dabir could take advantage of such negligence and state that the university had breached the duty of care owed to him. The university, through the park attendant and the security personnel, had not put in place adequate measures to ensure that his property is protected in the most effective manner. Accordingly, he could utilize the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 to clarify that the university had breached the duty of care owed to him through its negligence (Keenan & Riches 2005, p. 75). The park attendant’s behaviour was a directly negligence and it would give Dabir an advantage in his suit for damages in this case. The injury (the loss of the car) occurred to him because the university systems had not done enough to minimize the risk of loss by checking the registration number against the staff records.

The senior security personnel informed him that he had been adequately warned that the university would not be liable for any losses of cars at the park. The question here is: Was the warning enough to enable Dabir, as a visitor, to be reasonably safe? The answer is no, because there were no strict measures to ensure the safety of his car while he was at the school. In respect to this, the university will be liable for damages relating to the loss of the car. According to Marson (2013, p. 314), Dabir could utilise the case Rae vs. Mars Ltd, 1990 to explain the view that the warning had not been enough to prevent his car from being stolen. Therefore, he cannot be blamed for the loss emanating from the use of the staff’s parking space. He had the full rights to use it, but the university provided a mere warning with no additional barrier to prevent the theft of cars. The warning does not absolve the university from liability relating to the loss of his car and subsequent expenses incurred on public transport.

In conclusion, it is clear that Dabir would be able to successfully sue the university for damages relating to the loss of his car and the expenses used on public transport. Damages would be his key factor in the suit against the university. In this case, he is likely to meet most of the requirements, and the court is likely to require the university to pay damages for the loss of his car due to the negligent manner in which the park attendant acted toward the individual who stole Dabir’s car. Additionally, he had used public transport due to the loss of his car. It is probable that the court will find the university liable for expenses incurred on public transport. The Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 and the relevant case studies highlighted above would be crucial to his successful suit for damages against the university.

PART B: Edwina

Edwina’s case is caused by the liability of false statements and negligent acts among individuals. Specifically, the false statements emanate from the decision to purchase the book at the campus store, while negligent acts emanate from turning off the lights as Filippo shut down the audio visual equipment. As a result, Edwina suffered the injuries when her arm broke in two places.

Finch and Fafinski (2012, p. 38) asserts that courts are always more cautious when dealing with negligent statements compared to negligent acts. They are always keen to consider liability in cases where the person suffers physical injury. The liability for economic losses and shocks emanating from the reliance on negligent and false statements is only accepted by the courts when full proof is offered by the plaintiff.

In Edwina’s situation, it is stated that she went to the campus store with the aim of only purchasing one of the recommended books for business law purposes. She wanted to take advantage of the 10% discount offered by the university store by purchasing one book. It is also prudent to argue that she asked the assistant to sell her the most up-to-date book for business law. The assistant apparently recommended her to buy the Ann Roberts’ book because it was published in 2013, while that James Roll had been published in 2011.

A keen analysis of such scenario reveals that the assistant is liable for negligent misrepresentation or issue of false information to Edwina. It was clear that Edwina was going to rely on the assistant’s knowledge and understanding of the books before purchasing any of them. She only had one option and needed more reliable information before making her purchase. Edwina should rely on the case Chaudry vs. Prakabakhar, 1988 to prove that the assistant was liable for misinforming her about the latest edition of the book (Tillson 2011, p. 114). The latest edition needed by Edwina did not necessarily mean a reprint, but a renewed book with the current syllabus. It makes the assistant independently liable for a negligent advice. She fully relied on the attendant’s information before purchasing the book, hence making the attendant fully liable for the false statements. It was the assistant’s duty to crosscheck the books and inform her that the most current edition was the one written by James Roll. Adams (2012, p. 258) assert that the assumption made without checking through the books makes the assistant wholly liable for misleading Edwina who desperately needed assistance before making her choice. The frustration and shock suffered by Edwina was caused by her reliance on the assistant’s knowledge of the books and the ultimate recommendation.

Thus, the book store is supposed to refund her for the wrongful purchase of the Anne Roberts’ book. Again, she needs to be given the 10% discount on the James Roll book because it is the rate being offered to everyone. The campus store assistant is liable and should accept to refund her without any questions. In fact, there is no argument for unreasonable reliance on the assistant’s information. The assistant offered the information confidently and Edwina believed that she could rely on it. Therefore, the store should accept the book and give her the James Roll book at 10% discount. If it is not done, she could move to the court to claim damages for the frustration and the stress suffered after she realised that she had been misled by the assistant (MacIntyre 2012, p. 55). The court will also necessitate the store to exchange the book and sell the recommended one to her at the current rate.

The second part of the case relates to negligent actions. Courts have a clear approach to negligent actions that lead to injury or damage of property among individuals. In the case, there is the presentation of the view that Filippo, Edwina’s lecturer, had inadvertently turned off the lights as he shut down the audio visual equipment. It is a crucial element that Edwina should put in her mind, as she tries to seek compensation for her broken arm. Under the law of torts, actions are usually perceived negligent in cases where they are done intentionally with the aim of causing injury or damage to another person (Elliott & Quinn 2013, p. 90). Negligent actions also arise from the omission of some vital details, hence leading to injury to individuals.

In such scenario, it would be difficult for Edwina to sue the lecturer, Filippo, for the compensation of the broken arm because he had turned off the lights intentionally. It means that he is not liable for her broken arm, as he did not intentionally want her to fall off the stairs. From the case of Donoghue vs. Stevenson 1932, one could only be adjudged to be liable for negligent act in instances where he owes the other party a duty of care (Elliott & Quinn 2013, p. 120). In Edwina’s case, the lecturer did not owe her a duty of care, and cannot be blamed for negligently turning off the lights and leading to her injuries. It would have been different if he owed her a duty of care and had breached it by acting negligently.

If Edwina decides to move to court to claim compensation, the lecture would argue from the side of contributory negligence and it would be unlikely for her to prove negligence in court. Filippo would clearly argue that Edwina contributed to her own injuries because she was still preoccupied with the purchase of a wrong book for her business law course. The injury would not have occurred to her if she had been in her proper state of mind. Therefore, her confusion and tension might have played the biggest part in the breaking of her arm. Thus, it is likely that the court will not award Edwina damages for her broken hand due to the challenge she will face when trying to prove that Filippo had directly acted negligently, hence leading to the injury. There was no duty of care in current scenario and she had contributed to her own injuries by being preoccupied to what had happened to her.

PART C: Filippo

Filippo should be advised in respect to the Employment Act 2008 and the law of contract. Such elements would play an instrumental role in informing him whether he had been dismissed fairly or unfairly.

Cabrelli (2012) confirms that the Employment Act 2008 has reformed several issues relating to the labour laws of the United Kingdom. Therefore, it mainly deals with matters relating to the resolution of disputes, employer’s adherence to the minimum wage and the expulsion of members from unions. The law of contract explains the terms that should be observed by both the employer and the employee before the dismissal.

In tandem with the Employment Act 2008 and the contract between Filippo and the university, there could be a clear argument that he was dismissed unfairly. First, the dismissal is unfair from the onset because Filippo was not served with the appropriate notice prior to his dismissal. According to both the Act and the contract, the employee is supposed to be served with adequate notification of his impending dismissal before any action could be undertaken (Nairns 2011, p. 150). The principal’s decision to dismiss him without serving him with adequate notice is a reflection of the unfairness of the dismissal he had suffered from the university. Having signed the contract twenty years ago, Filippo has more than one year continuous employment qualifying period that should only be concluded through proper notice. He could utilize Re Unfair Dismissal to prove that he has more than one year qualifying continuous working year and deserved to be served with sufficient notice of his dismissal (Nairns 2011, p. 180). It would be the best argument for him to begin his defence and the subsequent application for damages for the breach of the contract terms.

Secondly, Filippo could utilise both the provisions of the Employment Act 2008 and the terms of the contract to affirm that there was no reasonable reason for his dismissal. The reasonableness of the dismissal is vital because it determines whether the dismissal was a result of a reasonable commission or omission of certain acts on the part of the employee. The application of the band of reasonableness would be done in line with the case of Iceland Frozen Foods Ltd vs. Jones where it was held that the employee had been unfairly dismissed from the company (Nairns 2011, p. 70). He is advised to inform the court that he had only been dismissed for trying to tell a student to follow the stipulated class rules, which makes no harm to anyone. Recording a lecture could have caused a student more injuries at some point. Therefore, Filippo is in a perfect position to claim that his dismissal had not been done within the required level of reasonableness. Again, he had been a lecturer at the university and he has a clear understanding of its rules. There is no reason for dismissing him for cautioning a student about the standard class rules that everyone in the class was supposed to follow.

However, Filippo need to understand that he would not be expressly granted his claim for unreasonable dismissal at the university. Uxbridge University might also take another position in the suit, as it tries to protect its public image and avoid unnecessary losses for the payment of damages arising from the case. Therefore, the principal might argue that he could have been dismissed for the ‘lack of professionalism’ in the handling of students. In his position as a lecturer, he must exhibit a high level of professionalism. Adams (2012, p. 107) confirms that the university would definitely rely on Singh vs. London Country Buses to argue that Filippo’s conduct was at variance with the one required at the university. Again, the university could emphasize that all students are supposed to be respected and the university cannot damage its reputation by continuing to work with such lecturers. Thus, there is still possibility for the university to prove that the dismissal was reasonable.

Filippo’s dismissal is unfair because it reflects a breach of a contract. The principal breached the contract when he discharged the contract without the consent of the other party. It could have been understandable in cases where the contract would have been void ab-initio (Jones 2013, p. 281)The employment contract between Filippo and the university is a valid one and every party needs to be informed appropriately before it can be terminated. The abrupt termination of the contract means that the overall dismissal was unfair and he has a right to continue working at the university till the time the contract will end in the next year. The failure to adhere to the contract reflects the hurried and unfair nature in which the dismissal was conducted. The payment of one month’s salary does not meet the terms of the contract because it has been occurring for a long period (MacIntyre 2012, p. 86). Therefore, there should be the payment of a tangible amount at the end of the contract between him and the company.

In conclusion, Filippo would have a daunting task trying to prove that his dismissal was unfair. It is likely that the university will put in a strong defence to try and protect its image by insisting that he had acted unprofessionally. Nevertheless, Filippo has a chance to prove his right as he can still utilise the Employment Act 2008 and the law of the contract to prove the unfairness. It is probable that the court would award him damages for the unfair dismissal and breach of contract by the university. He will be paid all the amounts remaining on his contract due to the understanding that he was still committed to it. It is also likely that he will receive the remedy of specific performance where the university would be required to adhere to the terms of the contract following his dismissal. He might regain his job if it is proven that there was no reasonable cause for his dismissal.

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