London Borough of Sutton v Edwards [2016] EWCA Civ 1005

The question for the court was whether a first instance judge was correct in deciding that the appellant local authority owed a duty under section 2 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 to ensure that visitors were safe in using a small ornamental bridge in a park, notwithstanding that there was nothing wrong with the state of the premises and no history of previous accidents. The judge distinguished between section 2 of the Act and section 1(1)(a) of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984 which regulated whether a duty was owed by reason of any danger due to the “state of the premises” and held the local authority should have identified and assessed the risk of a fall from the bridge and warned users accordingly.

Held: (1) The provisions in the two Acts were not materially different: both required a clear identification of the dangers of the premises, on which the judge had not adequately focused. While an unfenced bridge presented dangers objectively constituting a danger from which a duty of care arose, that clearly did not mean that railings or warnings were required: Tomlinson v Congleton BC [2003] UKHL 47 followed; (2) a formal risk assessment would not have produced anything other than a statement of the obvious, and would not have lessened the possibility of the accident occurring; (3) there was no requirement for the local authority to fit railings.

November 15, 2016 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases