Neil Partington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The developing intersection between the law of negligence and sports coaching in the UK provides a profoundly distinctive context, as compared to that of the more traditional learned professions, in which to critically examine the issue of professional liability. More specifically, detailed consideration of the Bolam test in the context of sports coaching, where the majority of coaches are volunteers, reinforces the Bolam doctrine as a control mechanism designed to protect both claimants and defendants alike. Importantly, a fuller analysis of related jurisprudence, even in instances where defendant coaches lack a formal qualification, and/or may not have engaged in considered and reasoned decision-making, reveals the potential for the Bolam test to operate as a quasi-defence, thereby safeguarding coaches from negligence liability. Nonetheless, in discharging this heightened standard of care incumbent upon them, coaches must ensure that the coaching practices adopted are regular, approved, and capable of withstanding robust and logical scrutiny. Ultimately, this article’s analysis of the principles of professional liability, in the specific circumstances of sports coaching, should prove to be of appreciably wider interest and utility for practitioners specialising in personal injury law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-242
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personal Injury Law
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Bolam Test
  • Coaches
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Negligence
  • Sports
  • Volunteers

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