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

Purdue v Devon Fire, Rescue Service (Court of Appeal)

15 October 2002
The issues

Emergency Services – fire engines – collisions – road traffic – duty to look.

The facts

A fire engine owned by the Defendant was travelling to an emergency along a long stretch of dual carriageway. It approached a junction, where a car was waiting to turn right across its path. As it approached, the light shown to the fire engine turned red and the light showing to the driver of the vehicle turned green. The driver pulled away and the fire engine and the car collided. At first instance, the County found the Fire Brigade liable on the basis that the fire engine had not been sounding wailers and that it had acted negligently in proceeding through the red light. There was no finding of contributory negligence. The Defendant appealed.

The decision

1. The facts in this case were very different to the facts in Griffin -v- Mersey Regional Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Each such case was to be determined upon its own facts.

2. A driver had a duty to take reasonable care to avoid a collision with any vehicle that crossed a red signal.

3. The Highway Code particularly obliged drivers to look and listen for emergency vehicles.

4. It was reasonable to expect that the Claimant would have looked to his right whilst he was stationary. It was not easy to say whether that expectation amounted to a duty. A properly observant driver however would have seen the fire engine coming. A finding of 20% contributory negligence would be made against the driver. Appeal allowed.

For further information on this case please contact Marie Macfarlane at mariemacfarlane@veitchpenny.co.uk.

focus on...

Legal updates

Contingent loss in negligence claims

Contingent loss is relevant to limitation; specifically, the date at which a claimant’s cause of action accrues for the purposes of a claim in the tort of negligence (as many claims against professional advisers are framed).


Legal updates

Legal and regulatory monthly update - September 2019

The latest update covering delegated authority, insurance product development, the senior insurance managers regime, data protection, operational control frameworks, Lloyds market, and horizon scanning.


Legal updates

Kuoni referred to the CJEU by Supreme Court for clarification - possible impact on breach of contract, vicarious liability and assumption of responsibility claims for sexual abuse and assault

We were hoping to be able to give you some interesting insights following the judgment of X v Kuoni Travel Ltd but that will have to wait for another day.


Legal updates

The disappearance of LIBOR

Companies should undertake a comprehensive review and audit to identify those products and legacy contracts that are LIBOR-linked and carry out an in-depth risk assessment of discontinuation. Where possible, companies should look at appointing an individual to oversee the programme.


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