Czernuszka v King – Tackling private damage in sport

In Czernuszka v King [2023] EWHC 380 (KB) 23 February 2023, the Superior Court docket in England experienced to consider the diploma of treatment which a player is essential to exercising regardless of the inherent pitfalls that may well be at enjoy in significant contact sports activities these types of as rugby.

Track record

The claimant was taking part in her to start with aggressive rugby match in a developmental league in opposition to the defendant’s team. The defendant was explained by witnesses as “much way too very good” for that degree and that she “didn’t have regard for the gamers she was coming into get hold of with.” Earlier in the match, the claimant overheard the defendant exclaim to her teammates, “I am likely to split her”. Near the conclusion of the activity the defendant tackled the claimant producing a spinal cord injury rendering her paraplegic.

The determination

Online video proof of the match and the tackle in question was obtainable for evaluation by both equally the specialist witnesses and the judge. Pursuing a scrum, the claimant was viewed bending down to select up the ball. The defendant tackled the claimant just before she was in possession of the ball and in a way explained by the decide as “not recognised in rugby.”

Following demo, the defendant was observed liable. In evaluating legal responsibility, the courtroom placed substantial aim on the adhering to troubles:

  • the “overly aggressive” nature of the defendant in mix with her amplified dimensions and strength about the other players
  • The truth that the defendant ignored the ball that was in play and went “straight for the claimant” rather than the ball
  • The greater understanding of the defendant in regard of the activity intended the defendant would have regarded the claimant was in a vulnerable posture whereas the claimant probable did not know the vulnerable situation she was in due to inexperience and
  • That the execution of the “tackle” was with “reckless disregard for the claimant’s security” and was performed “in a manner which was liable to trigger injury.”


Even though this circumstance turned on its info it remains a beneficial case in point of the variety of carry out which, in a sporting context, a court will effortlessly find to be reckless or to show a large diploma of carelessness. It is clear that “sport is not exempt from the legislation of negligence.”

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