‘Faster, higher, stronger? Too much?’ Pushing the limits of negligence liability in sports coaching

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In a sporting context, where professional and amateur instructors interact with students to drive personal physical performance, risks of injury sometimes seem inevitable by-products of the training process. Some risks materialise in short-term injuries, but others may lead to catastrophic consequences, leaving the student in search of a remedy in the form of damages for negligence by the instructor. Some regard the notion of a ‘compensation culture’, or at least its perception, as fuelling in part an evolving climate of risk management, injury prevention and defensive, risk-averse professional practice, with resultant rises in professional indemnity and public liability insurance which inhibit the positive benefits that sport is claimed to bring to society. What are the tensions in principle and practice of applying established principles of negligence liability into the sometimes delicate professional symbiotic relationship between a sports instructor and their student? How far is a balance achieved between the duty of care owed by a professional with experience and control towards a student with personal autonomy, striving to improve performance, in a relationship of mutual reliance? This paper examines those tensions in establishing or negating liability in negligence of coaches and instructors in sports and recreational activities to their pupils.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 May 2013
EventNorthumbria Research Conference - Northumbria University
Duration: 16 May 2013 → …


ConferenceNorthumbria Research Conference
Period16/05/13 → …
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