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Drake v Torbay Council, DJ

16 July 2002
The issues

Highways – moss – Goodes -v- East Sussex County Council.

The facts

The Claimant was walking his dog one morning on a route he knew well. It was raining and he curtailed his walk. He set off home, returning by means of steps between two roads. There was a handrail. There was also moss on the steps. He slipped on the moss, twisting his knee.

The decision

1. The steps were part of the highway maintained at public expense. Moss was not part of the fabric of the highway. It grew in silt, which had been deposited on the highway. There was therefore an analogy between this case and Goodes -v- East Sussex County Council.

2. There is a duty to maintain the fabric of the highway in good repair. In Goodes it was held that that duty did not extend to removing accumulations of ice and snow that were on the highway and not part of the fabric of the highway. There was an analogy between ice and snow and moss. Accordingly, the claim was dismissed.

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