Collapse of a stage during a local festival: Is it the Municipality’s fault?

The parents of a minor had brought an action for damages against their local Municipality for the injuries suffered by their child during a local festival held on 15 August 1991, which had been authorized by the same Municipality.

The Supreme Court held, with its judgment no. 3951/12, that the trial court should have determined whether the municipality had observed the obligations provided for under articles 32, 68, 69, 80 and 81 of Law no. 773 of 1931 before it could give the required authorizations.

The aforementioned provisions require, in fact, that a series of tests must take place with a view checking the safety and solidity of the structures where the shows are held, as well as the compliance with the rules and precautions imposed by the special technical committee for the proper functioning of the security mechanisms provided for under the law (particularly in the case concentration of a considerable number of people in the same place).

The Municipality was held, therefore, to be in breach of its general duty of care (neminem laedere), insofar as it had failed to take all precautionary protective measures with a view to averting dangers to public safety.

The Supreme Court held that the municipality should have done so when the authorization was given to the association E. for setting up the stage for the show, by checking the design and execution of the works, the technical choice of materials and their workmanlike installation, as well as during the show, by preventing (with adequately reinforced scaffolding) the predictable and far from excessive invasion of the stage – built with planks of wood-  by the audience and by making sure that the barriers were not overrun.


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