Rallies & Events – Potential Cockups!.

If you are proposing to run an event, this article may be of some little help – “little” being the operative word, since it has to be said that the potential for falling foul of some law or regulation (however obscure) is enormous.

Potential areas of legal liability

Running an event can invoke the criminal or civil law.

In broad terms, the criminal law is what is generally enforced by the police or other law enforcement bodies (eg trading standards/hygiene etc). In terms of biking events, you are most likely to come up against the law and its subordinate regulations in relation to food, hygiene, health and safety, obstruction and so on.

Civil law on the other hand is enforced strictly between private citizens or bodies – without any interference by the police etc. The two areas that you will be mainly concerned with here are contract and negligence. Hiring Duncombe Park or the East of England Showground for your annual event involves your entering into a legally binding agreement (ie a contract) with the owners. All parties agree to be bound by the terms of that contract – so you need to read and understand the terms carefully. The same applies to your traders and exhibitors.

If things go wrong then the right of redress (and the extent of the redress) stems from the terms of the contract. Contracts may have terms implied such as performing duties competently and reasonably.

In the absence of a contract the law of negligence may well be relevant. A negligent act is a non-contractual wrong. Supposing you allow young children near an unfenced pond. The risk of a child falling in and drowning is entirely foreseeable and therefore as organiser you may well be liable for the consequences.

Remember also that generally you cannot exclude legal liability for personal injury or death.

Have I got you worried?

A few general hints to help you along the way:

  • Remember that all legal liability generally attaches to those with ORGANISATION & CONTROL. A court will always ask itself to what extent you had “hands on involvement”.
  • Needless to say always enlist experienced people onto your committee.
  • Recognise the risks head on – & do what you can to minimise and manage them.
  • Don’t assume that because your event is “private” or “ticket only” you are exempt. We live in a draconian state.
  • Always insure – unless you want to say “bye bye” to your personal belongings. Where you can, take advantage of preferential premiums from group schemes.
  • Consider the advantages (& disadvantages) of turning yourself into a limited company.
  • Oil the wheels by cultivating good terms with your local police, health and safety, food and hygiene etc.
  • Pass the buck – where you can. If your trader’s fish and chip van goes up in flames it should be their look out. Put down their responsibilities clearly and simply in writing. It doesn’t have to be a convoluted legal document.
  • And finally, if something does go wrong, make sure it’s recorded time, place, full circumstances, witnesses etc.

This information is given in good faith. However, neither Bikers Advice nor its servants or agents can be responsible for any inaccuracies. Every case in different and the law can change. Always obtain professional advice in your particular case.

All Articles © 2018 Bikers Advice