Top judges to rule on 'tag' game injury case

Three senior judges are to decide whether boys playing tag in a school playground can be held responsible for the injuries caused to adults when they bump into them.

A school dinner lady, Michelle Orchard, 37, was seriously injured in January 2004 when a 13-year-old pupil collided with her while running away from a school friend during the chase game.

A county court judge ruled in May last year that a boy of 13 playing tag would not realise that his actions could give rise to the risk of injury. But yesterday Anthony Coleman, representing Ms Orchard, told three Court of Appeal judges that Sebastian, who started the game, and the 13-year-old chasing him at Corfe Hills School in Dorset, were "sufficiently old enough to be well aware of the need to conduct [themselves] so as to not cause injury to others not participating in the boisterous behaviour".

Benjamin Browne QC, representing the boy, said: "This appeal raises a stark and important question: does the law of tort [a legal wrong] have any part to play in the regulation of simple and time-honoured playground games between young children?"

Lord Justice Waller, Lord Justice Rimer and Lord Justice Aikens reserved their ruling.