A waiver signed by thousands of people attending a new trampoline park is “unenforceable”, the Evening News has learned.
The document is presented to thrill-seekers at Ryze on the Mayfield Industrial Estate in Dalkeith which has been the subject of more than 100 incidents in its first three weeks.
But now it has emerged that the contract, intended to protect the organisers from legal action, may not be compliant with Scottish law.
Since it opened last month, the 10,000sq ft park has allegedly been the site of a raft of accidents including a broken neck, back and other bones.
The park is now being investigated by health and safety chiefs, while it is also understood that several people have already sought legal advice.
Solicitors Digby Brown said any attempt to remove liability from activities like trampolining is “void” and “completely meaningless”.
It also stressed that organisers have a “duty of care” to reduce risk and that a waiver would not protect the company from its responsibilities if it was found to be “negligent”.
Ryze insisted it had been “diligent” in securing the legal protections necessary, and was “confident” in its legal standing.
A spokeswoman from Digby Brown said: “Most of us, at one time or another, will have taken part in an activity that involved signing a waiver: rock climbing, trampolining, sky diving, for example.
“This will normally take the form of a long legal declaration that says that the organiser has no responsibility for any injury or death that occurs during the activity. You are left with the impression that if anything goes wrong, you have no legal rights.
“But you do. These waivers form a contract between you and the activity organiser. The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 aims to protect consumers against unreasonable terms.
“This means that any contract term which attempts to exclude or restrict liability for death or personal injury is void and unenforceable. It is completely meaningless.”
Ryze chief executive Case Lawrence said he was confident of the firm’s legal position, and also moved to scotch rumours that there had been 100 injuries.
“It has been misreported that we have had 100 injuries. There have been 100 incidents requiring staff attention at the park; we have had less than ten injuries requiring hospital or clinic care.
“We have been completely transparent in sharing these numbers. We expend significant efforts to make sure our facility is as safe as possible for this activity.
“We have been diligent to secure the legal protections necessary for an active sports business like ours. We are very confident in our legal standing.
“The waiver and protections we have in place are the same as thousands of other businesses throughout the UK.”
Health and safety inspectors from Midlothian Council confirmed that they had been made aware of a number of allegations of injuries.