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Liability For Rugby Related Neuro-Degenerative Disease: A Question of Tort

Cave, Emma; Purshouse, Craig; Purshouse, Joe


Craig Purshouse

Joe Purshouse


This article examines the potential liability of rugby governing bodies in negligence for their alleged past failures to protect players from known risks associated with the neurodegenerative consequences of rugby-related traumatic brain injury. Not only is there a strong public interest in the claims given the impact it could have on the game, but the claims raise novel issues in tort law and legal medicine. We consider the action in negligence in light of recent developments such as scientific advances in relation to both causes and diagnoses of neurodegenerative disease, criticism of the industry from independent committees, and increased readiness of the courts to hold sporting bodies to account. The article sets out the barriers a claimant would face and the doctrinal advances that would be required to overcome them. While other writers have been sceptical of the chances of claimant success, the argument put forward in this article is that barriers to a claim are not insurmountable, provided the claim is carefully articulated taking account of both doctrine and the developing evidence base.


Cave, E., Purshouse, C., & Purshouse, J. (in press). Liability For Rugby Related Neuro-Degenerative Disease: A Question of Tort. Journal of Personal Injury Law, 2,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2024
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2024
Journal Journal of Personal Injury Law
Publisher Sweet and Maxwell
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Public URL
Publisher URL

This file is under embargo due to copyright reasons.

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