Legal Duty To Ensure Safety Of Exterior Premises

Pieterse v FLM SA (Pty) Ltd and Others


In the case of Pieterse v FLM SA (Pty) Ltd and Others, the court examined the issue of negligence surrounding a slip-and-fall incident on an uneven sidewalk leading to a business premises. The plaintiff sustained injuries and sought damages, alleging that the defendants failed in their legal duty to maintain safe premises.

Summary of Law:

The plaintiff argued that the defendants had a legal duty to ensure the safety of exterior sidewalks and entrances to their business premises. However, the court found that the presence of a disclaimer notice and the fair condition of the paving negated claims of negligence. It emphasized that reasonable expectations regarding pavement conditions should be considered, and the plaintiff’s own negligence was highlighted.

Court’s Findings:

Despite the plaintiff’s claims, the court determined that the defendants had a system in place for repairs and maintenance, and no previous complaints had been raised regarding the pavement’s condition. Applying the test for negligence, the court found no evidence of a dangerous situation that the defendants could have reasonably foreseen, leading to the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim. Additionally, the plaintiff’s failure to prove the location and cause of her fall, as well as her own negligence, contributed to the dismissal of the claim.


The court’s decision underscores the critical importance of evaluating the reasonableness of expectations concerning the condition of premises. It highlights the necessity for individuals to take responsibility for their safety and exercise caution. Ultimately, the plaintiff’s claim was dismissed, emphasizing the importance of fulfilling the burden of proof in cases of alleged negligence.

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