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WHITE v BLACKMORE (1972) 2 QB 651

General Principle:

The common duty of care does not impose on an occupier any obligation to a visitor in respect of risks willingly accepted. Nevertheless, a visitor does not take on himself the risk on himself of injuries due to the defaults of an organiser.

White v Blackmore (1972) 2 QB 651


The Claimant was a spectator at a car race. He was watching the event by standing between races with his family. A car crashed into the ropes. He was killed due negligence in the way the safety ropes were set up. At the entrance to the grounds there was a notice warning that the racing event was dangerous and that the organisers did not accept liability for any injury. Mr White’s widow brought an action against the organiser of the event. The Defendant tried to rely on the defence of volenti.


Volenti cannot be applied in relation to the risks of the negligent construction of the ropes.


The Court of Appeal found in favour of the Claimant. The Defendant was not successful in relying on the excluded liability clause.

White v Blackmore [1972] 2 Q.B. 651


White v. Blackmore (1972) 2 QB 651 involved an automobile motorcade. The site was marked with signs warning of peril and stating that the occupant was not responsible for any damage, regardless of cause. Similar announcements appeared in the programme for the horse race. The applicant was aware of the notices. During the event, he was located in the spectator section behind a rope barrier. A vehicle's wheel snagged the rope, released it, and threw the defendant 20 yards, murdering him. It was determined that volenti did not apply because, under the circumstances, the claimant could not have been aware of the specific risk posed by the inadequate barrier (which did not comply with safety regulations). However, it was determined that the notices constituted a reasonable exclusion of liability (although it should be noted that this case was decided before the UCTA Act of 1977). The notices are now subject to section 2 of the UCTA (1977).

White v Blackmore

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