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TravelGhana: Negligence at Lands Commission

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JusticeGhana Urban Travels: The Ghana Lands CommissionTravelGhana: Negligence at Lands Commission

Re: BNI, Police probe Lands Commission fire... A Case of Occupiers Liability or “The Hypothetical Reasonable Person” at the Ghana’s Lands Commission?

Asante Fordjour


It is established that “in a negligence suit, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant did not act as a reasonable person would have acted under the circumstances. The court will instruct the jury as to the standard of conduct required of the defendant. A plaintiff has a variety of means of proving that a defendant did not act as the hypothetical reasonable person would have acted. The plaintiff can show that the defendant violated a statute designed to protect against the type of injury that occurred to the plaintiff. A plaintiff might introduce expert witnesses, evidence of a customary practice, or circumstantial evidence. Sometimes physical circumstances beyond a person’s control can excuse the violation of a statute, such as when the headlights of a vehicle suddenly fail, or when a driver swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid a child who darted into the street. To excuse the violation, the defendant must establish that, in failing to comply with the statute, s/he acted as a reasonable person would have acted. In many jurisdictions the violation of a statute, regulation, or ordinance enacted to protect against the harm that resulted to the plaintiff is considered negligence per se- unless the defendant presents evidence excusing the violation of the statute, the defendant’s negligence is conclusively established. In some jurisdictions a defendant’s violation of a statute is merely evidence that the Def. acted negligently.” (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edn 2)


Today, we are going to look at the Concept of Negligence- arising from legally borrowed French word known as tort or civil wrong. One of the underlying concepts in this area of law is the phrase “the reasonable person,” which provides the standard by which a person’s conduct is measured. The established rule in the law of tort is that a person has acted negligently if s/he has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances. The hypothetical reasonable person as the courts had always imputed, provides an objective by which the conduct of others- here, the claimant, is judged. In law, the reasonable person is not an average person or a typical person but a composite of the community’s judgment as to how the typical community member should behave in situations that might pose a threat of harm to the public (ibd).



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