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Local Authority’s Responsibility for Independent Contractor in Highway Claims

Penny v The Wimbledon Urban District Council and anor [1899] 2 QB 72

Where a Local Authority engages a contractor to undertake work which in its nature is likely to cause danger to others, there is a duty to take all reasonable precautions against such danger, and the Local Authority does not escape liability for the discharge of that duty by employing the contractor if the contractor does not take such precautions. (However accidents arising from ‘collateral or casual negligence, e.g. the leaving of a pick axe in the road, are not covered by the rule).

Salsbury y Woodland [1970] 1 QB 324

Penny was distinguishable, and there was no liability to the person employing the contractor where the work was done near, but not on, the highway.

Rowe v Herman [1997] 1 WLR 1390

There was no liability upon the employer of the contractor and Penny was distinguishable where the work did not involve obstruction of the highway, was not done under statutory powers and the loss did not arise directly from the work which the employer of the contractor was required to do (in this case the contractor was employed to build a garage and the claimant fell over some paving stones left out by the contractor).

September 4, 2011 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases