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Stapley v Gypsum Mines [1953] AC 663 House of Lords

Mr Stapley was killed when a roof of a mine fell on top of him. At the time of his death he was acting against his employers orders. He and another employee Mr Dale had been told to bring the roof down as it was dangerous. The pair knew that this meant that they should not to work in that part of the mine because of the risk. They attempted to bring down the roof but were unsuccessful in their attempts. They then decided to continue with the work they had originally been given. At the time of the collapse, Mr Dale had briefly left that part of the mine and was uninjured. Mrs Stapely brought an action against his employer for breach of statutory duty in relation to the actions of Mr Dale. The trial judge found for the Claimant, but reduced the damages by 50% under the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the Defendant holding that Mr Stapely was solely responsible for his own death. The Claimant appealed to the Lords.

Held:

3:2

The appeal was allowed but the damages were reduced by 80%.
 
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