Public Liability Support for Scouts

Public Liability Support for Scouts

Public Liability support provided by Unity for the Scouts

We not only arrange the liability cover for Scouts, but should a claim be made against a member or group, we provide support and advice.  

Liability claims and negligence

A Public Liability Insurance claim could be made following injury or damage to third party property.

For the claim to be successful, it's necessary for the claimant to demonstrate that the group were negligent either in their actions or absence of actions.

Both Scouts and Unity take a strong stance on claims made under the Public Liability Insurance.

Claims where something has gone wrong and negligence is likely to be proven will be settled quickly to help avoid costs. Other claims where there is some doubt over negligence are defended rigorously.  Unity will involve the services of solicitors to investigate, settle and defend the claims where appropriate. 

Examples of how a valid claim depends on the particular circumstances and whether the group were negligent.

If a tree on a Scout land falls and damages a neighbour’s building or property, the neighbour may make a claim against the group.  If the tree was dangerous and the neighbour had notified the group, who took no action, the group would be negligent.  However, if the tree was healthy and it was severe bad weather that caused the tree to fall then the group would not be negligent. In the first instance the neighbour should report any claim to their own insurers and claim on their own buildings insurance.  

If a visitor to a group’s Scout hut tripped and injured themselves, the visitor may want to make a claim.  Again this would depend on the cause of the fall.  If the visitor tripped on equipment left lying around by the group, the group could be negligent.  However, if had been raining heavily and the visitor accidentally slipped on wet grass in an area absent of hazards then the group would not be negligent.

A Scout group undertakes activities which include the construction of bridges or rope swings which must be supervised by the Scout leaders. If an injury occurred and the persons involved were unsupervised, there may be a case for negligence against The Scouts. 

These examples demonstrate why you should not admit negligence without first consulting with Unity.

Who could make a liability claim against a Scout group?

Claims can be made by the following parties:

  • Parents and guardians
  • Members of the public
  • Members of the group including leaders, helpers and children

What should you do if you receive details of a third party claim or a Letter of Claim?

A liability claim made against you or your group may seem a daunting prospect. But you’re not alone. We’re here to help.


If it is a claim against you or a member of your group for injury, loss or damage, you must notify Unity immediately, as insurers only have a limited time in which to reply to a claim.


Don’t ignore it

If you ignore a letter of claim or do nothing, it could result in a judgement being entered against you without further notice.

Don’t respond to it or admit liability without notifying Unity

If you admit liability without notifying Unity, it can prejudice your case. Insurers are within their rights under the terms and conditions of the policy to refuse cover without notice and you could find yourself facing the full cost of the claim personally. 

This means that you will be ordered to pay the amount of the claim (or an amount decided by the courts), including the claimants costs. Generally, costs are more than the claim for damages. The courts will send you a copy of the order stating how much you owe. Your group may be left with a large debt and unable to continue operating. 

Don’t engage in discussions about the circumstances of the incident with the claimant

If the claimant is a member child or leader they may still wish to attend the weekly meetings and, in the absence of any contrary legal advice, there is no objection to this. Unity would advise that if the claim is mentioned that all parties are advised that the matter is being handled by solicitors and that correspondence will be actioned in the appropriate manner.

What should you do if you are asked to provide a witness statement?

If you're asked to provide a witness statement to assist the claimant, you’re under no obligation to do so.

You should let Unity know and we can advise you of what your options are. We would advise that a witness statement is not submitted to the claimant. 

Other types of liability claims

You may find that you receive claims in respect of:

These covers are not provided to local Scouting by the Scout Association. Please check your own policy wording and contact Unity for further assistance. 

liability claims Expert

If a liability claim is made against you or a member of your Scout group for injury, loss or damage, talk to our claims expert


Call me:

0345 040 7701