EXEMPTION CLAUSES AND SIGNS

As a city dweller it is not uncommon to find signs such as: “PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK, SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK, PROPERTY LOST IN THE CAR PARKED HERE IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LANDLORD”

1. WHAT ARE THESE SIGNS CALLED?

These are exemption signs as printed or painted on to sign boards as a result of an individual who being part of a contract includes a term in a contract to exclude or limit his/her liability in the event of a breach of contract or in any specified circumstance. Exemption clauses seek to restrict the liabilities that may arise from the legal relation.

2. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SUCH SIGNS?

They are put up as sign posts to make the public aware of the extent of liability to which an individual says an owner of a car parking lot or a resort beach owner, may be held liable or not liable in the event of some bad things or wrong doing happening.

3. ARE THEY ALWAYS LAWFUL?

They are often lawful as under the interpretation of the law however they may be unlawful in some situations where the content of the signs is totally doing away with responsibility of either doing something or ensuring that they take care of someone or something. An example of a sign that may be unlawful;

“The management and owners of Juba Mall reserve a right of admission. We take no liability for any loss, damage, theft, accidental injury or death however caused. Access is granted at own risk.”

This may be interpreted as unlawful as in the above statement the management and owners of the mall try to do away with any form of responsibility and duty of care that they are ordinary meant to have towards the users of the mall and the tenants who may have entered into a tenancy contract and agreement to occupy the mall and who need protection to an extent from risk to their life and property. Such liability and responsibility includes: occupiers’ liability which concerns the duty of care owed by those who occupy real property, through ownership or lease, to people who visit. It deals with liability that may arise from accidents caused by the defective or dangerous conditions of the building.

4. WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF AN UNLAWFUL EXEMPTION CLAUSE COMMUNICATED IN A SIGN?

The consequence of an unlawful exemption clause and sign is that it would ordinarily be interpreted in favour of the innocent individual to a contract or agreement and in the example of a mall as stated above the sought exemption from liability by the mall management and owners may not be granted as they may be seen as attempting to do away with their responsibility to the mall users and tenants

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