Injured former CRUK employee sues the charity for £300,000

Sandra Shelbourne, 61, who worked as an animal technician, says she suffered severe back injuries in an incident at a staff Christmas party at CRUK's Cambridge Research Institute in 2012

A former employee of Cancer Research UK is suing the charity for £300,000 after she was injured at a staff Christmas party.

Sandra Shelbourne, 61, a former animal technician, claims she suffered severe back injuries after being lifted and dropped by a drunken scientist at the event at the charity’s Cambridge Research Institute in 2012.

Shelbourne's lawyers say she has been unable to work since and that the charity should have stopped the incident from happening.

The case could have significant implications for other charities and organisations that host events because it could provide a legal precedent on the extent to which they are vicariously liable for the actions of those present.

Shelbourne's case, which was rejected by Southend County Court in May last year, was heard on appeal at the High Court in London last week.

Lawyers acting on behalf of CRUK claim the accident was not foreseeable and, if the charity loses the case, it could act as a disincentive to organising staff parties.

At the end of the day-long hearing, Mr Justice Lane reserved his judgment, which will be given at a later date.

A spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK said: "We are aware of the appeal and pending judgment but cannot comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

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