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Dingley v Bromley LBC, County Court, 28 January 2000

15 September 2000
The issues

Pothole – local authority’s failure to implement adequate system of inspection.

The facts

Claimant parked car in a disabled parking space in a busy heavily parked town centre road. Defendant was the Highway Authority. There was a pothole in the surface of the carriageway a few feet from the curb. This represented tripping hazard (agreed apparently) and had been present for three months. Claimant’s foot became wedged causing her to fall. Defendant contended for the operation of the statutory defence. There were monthly inspections on Sunday mornings when fewer cars were parked. They argued that it was not practical to expect inspectors to look underneath cars that were parked.

The decision

The statutory defence was insufficiently made out. The system was not sufficiently frequent or thorough. Instructions should have been given to look more thoroughly under and around cars which were habitually parked on the road. As a matter of fact the Claimant had known of the existence of this particular pothole and therefore a finding of 25 per cent contributory negligence was appropriate.

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