Occupier's Liability: Alberta Proposes Reform


  • E. R. Alexander




In view of proposed reform of the law of occupiers' liability in Alberta, the common law approach to this area of law is examined by way of introduction. Professor Alexander adumbrates the categories of visitors and the duty of care owed to each, within the framework of the modern tort tendency to generalize. An examination in some detail is also made of the judicial techniques used in recent years to evolve the law of occupier's liability. As reform results from criticism, an examination of the criticisms of the present law, specifically judicial interpretation of the categories, as well as the categories themselves, their origin, com pass and applicability to vwdern society, are undertaken. Based on the criticisms, law reform has occurred. From the point of view of evaluating whether the reform has answered the criticisms of the common Iaio approach, the author attempts to examine the actual and proposed re form of England, Scotland, New Zealand, New South Wales, and Alberta. Particular detail is addressed to the Alberta proposals regarding com mon duty of care, the trespasser, the child trespasser and the ability to exclude liability. Concluding that convincing argument can be ad vanced for judicial reform in the area of private law, and that stare decisis does not have justification in the law of tort, Professor Alexander proposes that, while reform can be valuable as method of evolution, judicial history evidences that the Courts are able to adapt the law to meet changing social needs. The author concludes also that the common law today is preferable to the proposed Alberta reform.