Ground Weather and Light - Page 5

1.2 Why the ECB ACO is providing new information During the summer of 2015, a case was brought unsuccessfully against the ECB ACO in an English Court. The claimant, a fielder, alleged that the umpires had breached the duty of care owed to him in allowing play to start in conditions he alleged to be dangerous and were the cause of an injury he suffered while fielding. The judgement reviewed and commented upon the evidence, as to how and when the umpires had carried out their inspections and the tests they had applied in deciding whether and when play could commence. The judge held that the umpires owed a duty of care to the players to enforce the rules and Laws of Cricket. His judgement went on to describe the factors to be considered in deciding whether the conditions were dangerous or unreasonable, as well as the procedures involved in making this decision. The judge endorsed the central test set out in Law 3.8(b) and the factors set out in detail in Law 3.9(d) of the 2000 Code (2003 edition). This Guidance draws upon the lessons learnt from this case. At the outset, it should be noted that cases against umpires, and indeed sports officials generally, are rare. Whilst it is prudent to take stock of the position and provide guidance in light of the recent case referred to immediately above (which was the first time such a case has been brought against ECB ACO), there should be no cause for undue alarm in the umpiring or wider cricketing community. The case also highlights the benefits of having robust insurance cover in place (which is of course available to umpires through the ECB ACO). 1.3 The major points The judgement makes clear that umpires DO owe a duty of care to the players to uphold and enforce the Laws of Cricket, the relevant playing conditions and the ECB Directives. For GW&L decisions, this duty of care means the umpires must not allow play to take place if they conclude that the conditions are dangerous or unreasonable. This duty to look after the players’ safety is not removed by club officials, or the players themselves, saying that they accept the risk. Duty of care means the umpires should carry out a thorough inspection of the GW&L conditions to ensure they are not dangerous (ie there is no actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire) or unreasonable (see 3.4 on page 9) in order to determine whether play can take place. Laws 3.8 and 3.9 require ‘the umpires together’ to agree that conditions are, or are not, dangerous or unreasonable and describe the consequences, in terms of allowing or not allowing play. In light of the recent case, play should not start, resume or continue unless BOTH umpires AGREE that conditions are neither dangerous nor unreasonable. The umpires should th \