You Can’t Legislate For Negligence and Why ‘Disclaimers’ or ‘Waivers’ Are Not Really Worth The Paper That They Are Written On.
Some training providers, martial arts clubs and other agencies that promote risky activities make the participants sign a ‘disclaimer’, more commonly known as a ‘waiver’.
These ‘disclaimers’ are basically designed to exclude the training provider from liability by getting someone to agree to not take legal action against them if they become injured.
This is on the basis that if you ‘agree’ to take part in the activity you are accepting the risk.
But how legally enforceable is a ‘disclaimer’ and what degree of risk are you agreeing to accept when you sign up for a course?
Under Health & Safety legislation all organisations have a duty of care to those they train, whether they work for them or not.
Therefore, disclaimers can’t be used to completely shield event organisers from liability as a result of their negligence.
Also, under the Unfair Contract Terms Act, activity providers can’t exclude or restrict liability for injury or death caused as a result of their negligence.
The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 is designed to protect people from exactly what it says in the title – unfair terms in a contract.
Therefore, if you are taking part in a physical restraint or breakaway/self-defence course it may be reasonable to expect to get a bruise or a sprain, but it wouldn’t be reasonable to have your arm or leg broken because the activity wasn’t being adequately supervised.
Not many people are aware of the Unfair Contract Terms Act, which is a fact training providers and event organisers may rely on as they want do dissuade anyone injured from pursuing claims against them.
In short, you cannot legislate for negligence.
So the next time you get asked to sign a ‘waiver’ or a disclaimer’ before taking part in a physical restraint, breakaway, self-defence or martial arts course or an extreme sporting activity, just remember that the form doesn’t stop you from exercising your legal rights to pursue a claim if you were injured as a result of negligence.
We provide instruction on this on our BTEC Level 3 Restraint Instructor Award Course as well as instruction on how to supervise properly and it always surprises me how many trainers are simply taught to teach the skills but are given no instruction on how to supervise a class properly or what their liability is.
There’s a liability right there!
To see more about our BTEC Level 3 Restraint Instructor Award Course go to this link – https://www.nfps.info/physical-intervention-trainer-course/ and to find out more about our BTEC Level 3 Self-Defence Instructor Award Course go to this link – https://www.nfps.info/self-defence-trainer-training-2021/