Social Host Liability: A Logical Extension of Commercial Host Liability?
Sask Law Review, Vol. 65, pp. 515-547, 2002
Posted: 21 Sep 2011
Date Written: 2002
This article explores whether social host liability should be recognized in Canada. There appears to be some reluctance to acknowledge social host liability. Although this may be a reflection of collective welfarism, it is inconsistent with negligence law generally and also a disincentive for accident prevention. There is no reason for social hosts to enjoy immunity from liability where they have failed to do what a reasonable person ought to have done in similar circumstances to prevent a foreseeable risk of injury. Profitability, which has traditionally been used to justify the imposition of liability on commercial hosts and not social hosts, is best considered in determining the appropriate standard of care and not the existence of a duty of care. The author examines decisions on social host liability, arguing that liability has not been imposed, not because it would be inconsistent with Canadian law, but because of failure to establish some essential requirements for negligence liability in the circumstances. Social host liability is a logical extension of commercial host liability, brings the law in line with negligence law generally, and encourages socially responsible behaviour on the part of social hosts.
Keywords: SSOCIAL HOST LIABILITY, HOSPITALITY LIABILITY (LAW), NEGLIGENCE TORTS
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