Ivor Cook v Swansea City Council [2017] EWCA Civ 2142, [2017] All ER (D) 110 (Dec)

The claimant brought an action against the local authority on the basis that it had breached its duty under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (‘OLA’) in failing to grit a car park which it owned and operated. The claimant had slipped on ice in the car park, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. The local authority operated a ‘reactive’ system, whereby they would grit an area if a member of the public reported it as being dangerous. The claimant argued that the local authority employees who visited the car park, such as ticket wardens, should report icy conditions to the local authority, and that the failure to utilise such a system fell below the standard of reasonable care. The first instance judge found that the local authority’s reactive system was sufficient to discharge its duty of care under OLA. On appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment, noting that it would be unreasonable in all the circumstances to impose a duty which required the local authority to grit all unmanned car parks when icy conditions were reported, and that there had to be a balancing exercise which took account of the likelihood of injury, the seriousness of any injury which may occur, the social value of the activity giving rise to the risk, and the cost of preventative measures. Particularly, the Court noted that ice was an obvious danger and that people could be expected to look out for the same. It also held that there was social utility in providing a 24 hour parking facility, and that the cost of manning and/or regularly gritting the car parks (as an alternative to closing them and thereby losing their utility) was disproportionate to the risk in question.

January 15, 2018 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases