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Evans v Devon County Council, 27 June 2003

1 July 2003
The issues

Highways – algae – slipping – Goodes -v- East Sussex County Council

The facts

The Claimant slipped and fell on Chapel Lane steps, Dartmouth on 30th November 1999 breaking her left leg. She alleged that she slipped and fell on algae, which had formed on the steps. She was supported at Trial by witnesses who stated that the steps were dangerous and slippery. Concession was made by the Defendant’s Highway Inspector that the steps had to be treated with respect. The Defendants resisted the claim on the basis that algae was not part of the fabric of the highway and that following Goodes -v- East Sussex the Defendants could not be held liable for the accident. The District Judge found for the Claimant. The Defendant appealed to the Judge.

The decision

1. There was no substantial difference between the accumulation of algae and snow and ice.

2. Algae was not part of a fabric of the highway.

3. The decision in Goodes provided a complete answer to the claim.

Appeal allowed.

Comments

As Insurers and Local Authorities will know, the effect of Goodes is being overturned by the Railway and Transport Safety Bill Part 6 Section 109. Curiously, as drafted the legislation whether intentionally or otherwise, will not catch cases of this type.

For further information please contact Richard Kaye, email: richardkaye@vpinsurance.net

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