Wednesday 29 April 2015

Security Staff

There are many different types of doorman and security staff employed within the UK. With numerous nightclubs, bars and pubs opening up every year, it is often a sensible choice for managers of such establishments to employ door staff and security personnel in order to protect the physical safety of their patrons, reputation, business and financial interests.

Within the UK today there are in excess of 200,000 nightclubs, bars and pubs who are fully licensed to serve alcohol to the general public. Where the law imposes strict laws under the Licensing Act 2003, it does not actually provide companies with any requirements as to the extent of security required. So what are the risks posed to an establishment that employs untrained or unskilled doormen?

Doormen have provided security for companies for many years and play an important role in maintaining the safety of patrons and employees within that specified premises.  It is not unusual to be greeted by a doorman when entering a bar or a club at the start of an evening and it does provide patrons with a sense of security and confidence that the management of the establishment are conscious of the potential risks they could face and have the necessary precautions in place for prevention of an unprovoked attack. 
A doorman will have merely a few moments to meet the patrons at the entrance and make a decision on whether to allow entry into the premises. This decision will be hinged on multiple factors which will include dress codes, proof of age/ID and sobriety. Increasingly, establishments will also require their doormen to search the patron’s pockets or handbags for any potential weapons or illegal substances and prevent their entry into the premises.

Garden House Solicitors of Hertfordshire
Article by Lucy Walpole
 But how can you be sure that the doorman has exercised the right judgment in respect of all the patrons passing through their door every night? Or what happens if there are no doorman at all employed or present to control who or what is being brought into the premises? It is the sad truth that in today’s society you often hear of young people being subject to physical violence whilst enjoying a night out with friends and the question arises – who is responsible?
An individual who attacks another under UK law may be subject to criminal sanctions. But it first must be considered whether the attack should and could have been avoided altogether. This is a particularly interesting point when an individual is attacked with a weapon which was not removed from the individual prior to their entry into the premises. This is where the doctrine of vicarious liability comes to play.
Precedent case law has implied a two stage test which a court will follow in order to establish that an employer is vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of its employees. This means that if an individual is violently attacked and sustains a personal injury inside a nightclub, bar or pub, the establishment itself may be held legally responsible in any civil action for the omissions of their doormen for failing to safeguard patrons from a foreseeable risk of injury. The consequences of this for the establishment may lead to liability for a financial settlement to the injured individual and loss of reputation of the establishment.
A nightclub, pub or bar may be able to provide for this risk by being able to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent such an act at any given stage.  They may have contingencies in place to provide for the breakout of fights and disagreements, or they may have an appropriate inspection system in place. It would also be important for the establishment to show that they had a body of fully trained and reliable staff and a policy of insurance to protect them from this risk.
If you run a nightclub, pub or bar and are concerned about your potential liability, or have been subject to a violent attack in such premises and want to see whether you have a claim against the venue please do not hesitate to call me on 01992 422128 or email me at 

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Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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