In a twist over an exercise
SANDRA FROM Hendon writes: I signed up for an expensive 10-session course of Pilates at a private local gym, where the selling point was that the class was very limited in size and consisted only of ladies aged over 60, such as myself. The teacher was said to be a great expert, who was able to give close personal attention in view of the small size of the class. After just three sessions I hurt my back badly, despite following her instructions closely, and the doctor says I have pulled a muscle through over-exertion and must now give it up. Do I have any redress against the gym or the teacher? Sandra, I think you should be sensible and realistic, and the answer is, of course, no. Everyone knows that all physical exercise carries benefit, but always at some risk of injury or muscle strain. I think it is quite likely that you will have signed smallprint which will have warned you of just such a possibility. Even if not, the law will imply that you accept the risk of minor injury when you join any such class.
Unless you could demonstrate that the teacher was demanding grossly unreasonable physical tasks from you, having regard to what she knew of your age and general state of health, you would not be able to prove negligence or breach of duty of care against her or the gym.
If the other ladies have managed to get through it unscathed, it is the best evidence that the teacher did nothing untoward. Your best course now, I suggest, is to approach them humbly and charmingly and ask if they might refund you the balance of the lessons purely as a matter of goodwill on their part. You never know until you ask.
Juliet from Wimbledon writes: I am desperately worried for my son who is aged 22 and is studying to be a barrister. A month or so ago he was travelling by train from Wimbledon to London Blackfriars. It was the morning rush hour and the barriers were not working at Wimbledon, and an attendant waved him through without him apparently touching in his Oyster card. When he tried to exit at Blackfriars, he was rudely accused of fare dodging, and asked to pay an on-the-spot penalty of £20. He was given the choice of paying it or appealing, but was warned that if he did not pay the penalty, he was likely to be prosecuted as a matter of company policy. Since he did not have enough money on him, the choice was simple. A letter has just arrived telling him that travel fraud costs the rail industry over £400 million per year, that they have a zero tolerance policy to