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When we all joined gc.com, did we have to agree to a disclaimer or similar?


If so, does anyone remember what is was, or know where I can find it?


I want to talk to a landowner about placing caches on his land. He warmly welcomes the public and his estate is well-maintained for walkers and other visitors, but he was approached a couple of years ago by another geocacher and at that time refuse permission, primarlily I think (I will need to double check with the other geocacher) because he was concerned about geocachers injuring themselves whilst searching for caches and possibly trying to sue for damages.


I have been trying to remember if, when we joined gc.com, we agreed to take full responsibilty for our actions when out caching - or something like that? Just wanted to check this out before I decide if it's worth approaching the landowner again.

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I know! And my thoughts were "Aren't walkers just as likely to injure themselves as geocachers?".


Lots of groups use the grounds - schoolchildren doing sponsopred walks, geographical clubs, historical groups, university students etc. Have emailed other cacher to find out the details of what happened when geocaching was discussed with him with him before.

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Liability for accidents to visitors was one of the major concerns of landowners when the Scottish right to roam legislation was being drafted. I believe that landowners are not liable for anything that happens to people exercising their right of access unless the landowner has deliberately done something to make an area dangerous. Try here for more info.

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As "the other cacher" I can confirm that the estate wanted "my organisation" to provide them with evidence of liabiility insurance. I couldn't get them to see us as indivduals carrying out a hobby rather than as a group with a membership organisation.


However, as Mckryton points out, this attempt was before the new Scottish access legisation, so you may have better luck now. Hope it works out.

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I've discussed exactly this issue with the Countryside Access Officer of a local Council.


He pointed out that in the past 20 years there have been only five cases of landowners being sued in the whole of Scotland. All five cases failed. Three were withdrawn by the complainants and two were thrown out of Court. In Scotland judges take the view that anyone walking on someone else's land has a duty to look after their own safety and cannot derogate that duty to anyone else, not even to the landowner or the landowner's insurer.


A landowner would have to be extremely negligent, or do something extremely daft such as burying landmines, to be successfully sued in Scotland. No insurer would recompense a landowner for the consequences of such negligence, so demanding that a third party provide such an insurance policy is deeply stupid.


When the new Countryside Access legislation in Scotland was being discussed a couple of years ago there was a flurry of Nimbyism, most of which asked who was going to insure negligent or malicious landowners. That concern evaporated very quickly when it was pointed out that actually nothing has changed with respect to landowners liability. Uninsured landowners always carried their own liability. Nothing has changed.


In the specific and generic case mentioned by Allieballie, I would suggest that the landowners be asked why they would prefer to depend on someone else's insurance policy rather than their own.


Holdharmless clauses, or what used to be called "blood chits", are worthless nowadays and there's no reason for any landowner to demand them.

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Unfortunately it doesn't look like it helps much


Land Reform Act 2003


5 Access rights, reciprocal obligations and other rules and rights


(2) The extent of the duty of care owed by an occupier of land to another person present on the land is not, subject to section 22(4) below, affected by this Part of this Act or by its operation. ...


and 22(4) says


22 Compulsory powers to delineate paths in land in respect of which access rights exercisable


(4) Regard may be had, in determining whether a local authority has control of a path for the purposes of the Occupiers' Liability (Scotland) Act 1960 (c.30), to the duties imposed by subsection (3) above...


So if the landowners duty of care is unchanged they will probably ake the same line on liability insurance.

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I agree with Moote (well hush my mouth!). I do not think that this sort of disclaimer is legally enforceable. It does not absolve you* from the duty of care.


* you = Groundspeak, cache setter, land owner, moderators, county council and anybody else they can think of to sue.


However, it is not clear that any such prosecution would succeed in the UK.

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