/ Do you need an S.P.A to take people out bouldering?
Does it matter that it's free?
Am I leaving myself vulnerable to some sort of legal action in the - admittedly unlikely - event of an accident?
You dont need an SPA
It does matter that it's free. If you're receiving any payment or 'payment in kind' such as fuel money, meal out etc then you're potentially liable, and insurance would be a wise idea.
Assuming they're not minors (under 18), you don't legally require insurance or quals. If they are under 18 and don't have their parent/guardian with them it gets complicated, I'm sure a legal guru on here can clarify.
I might be wrong, but I don't think payment makes any difference, if someone training for a qualification takes someone out as practice and does something bloody daft and kills them they are rightly responsible. If I take my mates out and act sensibly, and someone dies, I don't think i'm responsible so long as I didn't do anything daft.
I think so long as you are honest and act as someone would be expected to act with your level of experience I don't think you are liable if there is an accident.
Like I said thoughI don't have any experience or qualifications of this sort of thing.
Just do it. The world would be a sad place if people couldn't take their mates out to try something.
No. It does not matter that it's free. In the unlikely event that you are negligent, it matters not whether you are charging. You are still negligent.
However, you certainly do not need an SPA.
If you want to get insurance I suspect you'll need an SPA.
You can get insurance based on experience rather than qualifications, and it's not too much extra I've been told.
Excuse me, but how much a load of bollox is this thread, you take people out climbing, it's always gone on way before any 'qualifications' were required, if you think you're competent just get the kids outside doing what real climbers do :-x
But Al it seems that technically speaking no qualifications are required.
If you are a member of the BMC then you are covered by their civil liability insurance should you be taking novices out climbing, as long as it is in a non-professional/non fee paying manner.
You don't legally *need* any qualification to teach climbing, it's not like France where you can get locked up for not being suitably qualified to guide.
And a great article from the BMC covering similar issues, particulary of interest to those who are accepting some sort of payment: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/coaching-instructing-and-the-law
As a rule of thumb...
When assessing a negligence case the HSE will take into account whether there are national standards for competence and whether the defendant has attained those standards.
If the standards exist (which they do)and you don't have them and you are negligent (this can be in any position where you assume leadership, paid or unpaid)then you would be expected to have a good reason.. and you would still be expected to be able to prove your competence to at least the minimum standard (ie the national standard.
So unless you are going out with mates on a basis of shared responsibility I would suggest you would be on dodgy ground unless you can fulfil the requirements to evidence competency.
And how does this differ from someone who was negligent with a piece of paper suggesting that they should have known better? Negligence is negligence regardless of your qualifications!
I would agree - I think this is basically what timjones is saying as well. If you have the qualifications and screw it up, you are negligent, and your qualifications will not protect you.
If don't have the qualifications and screw it up, you are still negligent, and can't hide behind your ignorance!
But hopefully someone who has done SPA training is less likely to screw things up, which is the point of training after all.
I guess the point is (in response to the OP), if you feel the need to ask...
The moral is, don't go outside your competencies. If you don't know what your competencies are, find out!
Thanks everyone. So to summarise, there is no strict legal requirement but a judge may take a poor view of someone without qualifications instructing a group. Instructing in a professional capacity requires insurance but a member of the BMC would be covered if it's done non-professionally.
Now my query is specifically about bouldering, I have looked at the SPA syllabus and it does seem to cover bouldering but not in much detail. Is it reasonable to expect someone taking a group bouldering outdoors to have a SPA?
Im not convinced that being a member of the BMC will cover you for instructing a group outside (insurance) id contact them about this.
The SPA does cover bouldering, not in great detail but certainly enough to help some one run a safe, fun session and to help them identify a good location. But it certainly does not cover everything... i believe there is a great new book out ;-)
Whether a judge takes a poor view of someone doing something without qualifications, professionally or otherwise, has no bearing. Why would a judge be involved at all, unless you screw it up?
The important question is simple - are you competent?
If you are not competent, or not sure, don't do it - get some training. If you are, then is no reason why you can't charge for your services. It is not a regulated profession.
The law is much more sensible than people think - ticking boxes will not protect you legally. But ticking boxes may mean the accident never happens at all...
PS I am told insurance is available, even for professional instructors, based on experience rather than qualifications (e.g. for SPA holders to teach lead climbing I think).
Because shit happens.
Plenty of extremely competent people in their respective fields end up being dragged through the legal system.
Knew that I had read this somewhere... From the BMC website:
'The BMC Civil Liability insurance provides cover to all BMC members when introducing novices to walking and climbing in a non-professional manner.'
Very good. Thanks.
Which is why you get insurance, so that if you did screw it up and are negligent then someone else pays up :P
But your qualifications or lack thereof will not protect you from either being sued, or subsequently winning or losing the case.
Of course, you can still be dragged through the legal system even if you have done nothing wrong, you just won't be made to pay up at the end of it (hopefully)...
It's hard for me to imagine a judge looking favorably on someone who lacks the relevant qualifications.
It's not that having qualifications protect you more that not having them may leave you vulnerable in the case of an accident - whether it's your fault or not.
Then it's lucky you're not a judge.
A qualification is most definitely NOT required to take people climbing and I hope it never is.
Many, many people are qualified by experience rather than a piece of paper and long may that continue.
I never said it was or should be required.
My point is that a judge, someone with no understanding of climbing, might find it somewhat negligent for a person whos job is taking groups out climbing to not undergo any relevant training whatsoever, or at least satisfy themselves that they meet the standard required by doing the assessment (I think it's possible for experienced climbers to get an exemption from the training and just do the two day assessment).
I would hope that a judge would look to the law.
Not dissimilar to a father teaching his son to drive. No requirement for dad to be a qualified driving instructor.
No negligent accident, no negligence.
Negligent accident, negligence.
Basic qualifications don't come into it.
As someone else has said, the act is 'negligent' if someone with the basic expected qualification (in this case SPA/CWA) would be expected to know better, regardless of whether or not they hold that qualification.
Are you suggesting that if an unqualified but experienced instructor took out a bunch of people climbing, and no accident occurred but someone decided to try and sue them, that the judge might say 'hmm, I think you should have some qualifications, so I hereby award some entirely arbitrary money transfer'? Not even sure what to call the money transfer - it wouldn't be 'costs' (no costs/harm), and wouldn't be a 'fine' (no criminal element)...
Or more reasonably, if an accident did occur but if the instructor was not negligence (say a broken ankle from an unlucky bouldering fall), that the judge's might ignore that actual lack of negligence and award costs anyway?
The only time qualifications _might_ come into it is if you had more advanced qualifications ABOVE what would be expected, when you might be held to _higher_ standards (i.e. as you have qualification XYZ you should have known about scenario ABC which a mere SPA holder wouldn't).
No I'm not. Sorry maybe my last post was a little ambiguous. I understand the whole thing a little better now thanks.
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