The Court of Session has issued its decision in the case of the man who fell down a Ha Ha at Hopetoun Estate. A Ha Ha is a man made construction involving a vertical drop of some feet. It is a feature of eighteenth and nineteenth century stately homes and is designed to stop livestock getting too close to the house.
In Cowan v Hopetoun House Preservation Trust Mr Cowan strayed off a path at night whilst on an organised bat walk. The trust as owners of the land were found liable subject to substantial reduction on the basis of contributory negligence. The Trust was held liable on the basis that the Ha-Ha constituted a danger due to the state of the premises for the purposes of the Occupiers Liability (Scotland) Act 1960 even though there was no duty, in the court's opinion, to fence it. All relevant duties would have been adequately be met by the giving of clear directions to everyone in the group.