In a twist over an ex­er­cise

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

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

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