0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Hatton v Cooper, Court of Appeal

8 May 2001
The issues

Centre Of Road Collisions – Inferences To Be Drawn – Equal Responsibility

The facts

On 19th September 1995 during the day and in god visibility the Claimant’s car collided with the Defendant’s car when both were travelling in opposite directions. Neither party had any recollection of the impact and there were no eyewitnesses. The Judge found the Defendant wholly responsible for the collision. The Defendant accepted primary liability but alleged 50% contributory negligence. The Defendant alleged that both parties approached each other on a collision course near the centre of the road without deviating from it and responsibility should be shared equally.

The decision

On the evidence it was likely that one of the vehicles had suddenly changed direction when it was too late for the other to take evasive action. The Judge had concluded that the Defendant was wholly responsible on the basis of the evidence of the Claimant’s employer that he was a careful driver. The Judge had been wrong to attach any significant weight to that evidence. Without that evidence there was no basis for finding the Defendants solely responsible for the collision. The only reasonable and proper inference that could be drawn from the available evidence was that each party was partly responsible. Since the evidence did not enable the Court to apportion the blame equally between them it followed on the authority of Baker v Market Harbour Industrial Co-operative Society Limited (1953) that both drivers were equally responsible.

focus on...

Legal updates

Non-payment of insurance premiums during the Coronavirus pandemic

The forced closure of many businesses as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Recent reports from the Office for National Statistics state that the economy was 25% smaller in April than it was in February this year.


Legal updates

Reinstatement for property damage losses – when does it apply?

The Court of Appeal has recently considered the correct test for measuring the indemnity for property damage losses and has provided useful guidance on whether an insured needs to intend to reinstate the property to its pre-loss condition.


Legal updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) insurance considerations

With instances of COVID-19 rapidly increasing throughout the UK, many businesses are considering the options available to limit staff and customer exposure to Coronavirus.


Legal updates

Insurance annual review 2019-2020

Welcome to our review of 2019 as we look ahead to what is on the horizon for the insurance sector in 2020.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up