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Lunt v Khelifa, Court of Appeal

27 May 2002
The issues

Road traffic – contributory negligence – pedestrian – drink.

The facts

The Defendant was driving along Kennington Park Road, London, driving within the speed limit. He was approaching a junction where the lights and pedestrian lights were not working. The Claimant was crossing the road at the junction. The Defendant hit him when he had gone about two paces into the road. The Claimant had 3Ω times permitted alcohol limit for drivers when tested after the accident. The Judge found that the Claimant should have been seen by the Defendant who had a duty to look out for pedestrians, particularly because of the presence of the crossing and a nearby tube station. He had also failed to brake in time. Judgment was therefore entered for the Claimant but apportioned liability one third to the Claimant and two thirds to the Defendant. This was on the basis that he had walked out without taking account of seeing the car. The Claimant appealed, arguing for a proportion of 20%. Defendant cross-appealed arguing for a proportion of 50%.

The decision

1. The fact that the Claimant had been drinking was an explanation for his behaviour in stepping into the road, but was not a factor in itself affecting the extent to which he was to blame.

2. What the Claimant did was more important in considering blame than why he did it (relying on Liddell -v- Middleton 1996).

3. It seemed to the Court that the Judge had been generous to the Claimant, since on the facts he had to bear a substantial burden of blame. However, the Court would not interfere with an apportionment unless it was clearly wrong. Moreover, Courts imposed a high burden on drivers to reflect the intrinsic danger of driving.

Appeal and Cross Appeal dismissed.

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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.

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