Forbes at Trial - Council not responsible for damage caused by falling tree due to adequate system of inspection

Tim Smith
Tim Smith

Published: February 25th, 2021

7 min read

The claimant pursued a claim against Bury Council relating to an incident when a tree located in a school fell onto the claimant's property causing damage.

The Council had a system of inspection of their trees and this tree had been inspected and was due to be felled. It was suffering from Venturia disease, but wasn't considered to be in imminent danger of collapse at the time of the inspection in March, and was set to be felled in August, during the school holidays.

However, unfortunately it fell prior to this and caused the damage. The judge found that the view taken by Bury was reasonable and that they acted reasonably in delaying the felling of the tree to the school holidays. Simply because it fell does not make the Defendant responsible.

The evidence that Forbes obtained to successfully defend the claim included that from the Council's very experienced tree inspector. There was a comprehensive Tree Management Policy in place for the council and as well as ad hoc inspections at the request of the school.

Forbes Comment

Being able to evidence a system of tree management and inspection is key to defending these types of claim. Furthermore, reasonable implementation of such a system, as in this case, is likely to be persuasive to a Court in determining liability and finding for the Defendant land owner.

Tree cases often involve complex expert evidence regarding causation of above ground trunk failure and reports from a range of different types of Experts. Forbes are able to utilise in-house practitioner knowledge gained from dealing with such claims to advise and guide Clients in what can often be a difficult area to deal with from a claims perspective.

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