Carden v The Jockey Club

Reference: 03/07/2000

Court: QBD

Judge: Elias J

Date of judgment: 3 Jul 2000


Sports law - appeal from tribunal - duty of care - negligence - Occupiers Liability Act 1957 - duty of care owed by sport regulatory body to participant - Jockey Club

Appearances: Godwin Busuttil (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Reynolds Porter Chamberlain for The Jockey Club


An amateur jockey sustained very severe spinal injuries when his horse fell while attempting to take a hurdle. He sued the owner of the racecourse and the Jockey Club, the regulatory body for horseracing, respectively, in negligence and under the OLA 1957, and in negligence. The claim against the Jockey Club was that by licensing Southwell racecourse to use an artificial surface in combination with a new type of hurdle, it had breached its duty to take reasonable steps to minimise or control, whether by rules or directions, the risks inherent in the sport.


Whether the Jockey Club owed a common law duty of care to the injured jockey and whether the Jockey Club had breached any duty they owed him.


The claim failed. At trial, Elias J held that any duty of care owed by the Jockey Club could only extend to taking reasonable care to eliminate any additional risks which are over and above those inherent in the sport itself. He also held that neither of the defendants was in breach of any duty it owed the plaintiff.


The Court defined the duty of care owed by the Jockey Club to licensed jockeys riding on licensed courses