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This paper has been adapted from a paper titled ‘Legal issues arising out of risk assessment’ prepared for the Henderson Colloquium on Risk and Liability, held at Magdalene College, Cambridge in July 2002 under the auspices of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering and the Highway Authority. After defining risk, the paper considers the standard of skill and care expected of the structural engineer when assessing risks; identifies specific risks that often arise during the design process; reviews the Courts’ approach to the recognition and assessment of risk, and how liability may arise in relation to the client and to others who may be affected by a design. The paper also reviews the duties in relation to risk assessment imposed on designers by health and safety at work legislation. Ian Wright, BSc(Hons), MSc, DIC, CEng, MICE, MIStructE, Dip.Law, FCIArb Barrister and Chartered Engineer, Crown Office Chambers.