"The Answer is Not to Sue the Council"

Article

30 September, 2014

Schofield v Bolton Council. Bolton County Court - District Judge Shaw

The claimant, a minor, aged 8 at the time of the accident was allegedly playing on a set of train wheels set as a memorial and positioned in a local park. The two train wheels are attached by a bar. The Claimant jumped from the bar into the grass and allegedly sustained a laceration to her forearm.

The Judge heard from the Claimant's step father who was with the Claimant at the time of the incident. In evidence, it was confirmed that the Claimant's step father did not witness the accident, nor did he see the glass that had allegedly caused the injury. He was therefore unable to comment on what had caused the injury. He eventually conceded that the accident was "bad luck". The step father told the court that he had revisited the accident site the next morning and had found glass. The Judge however, was not satisfied with this assumption. The discovery was made over 17 hours after the event, and the glass had not been produced or photographed. On this basis, the Judge found that the necessary standard of proof had not been met.

In the event that the Claimant had established causation, the Judge considered whether the Defendant had been negligent and/or in breach of statutory duty. The Judge was satisfied that they had a reasonable of system of inspection in place and that system was in operation at the time of the incident.

In her concluding comments, District Judge Shaw stated "you cannot impose legislation on bad luck, especially not on a Council as it would set the bar too high and it could never be achieved." She continued "I deplore litter in this country and people who drop litter. However, the answer is not to sue the Council."

The claim was dismissed and the Defendant awarded its costs.

For further information please contact Elizabeth Bower on 01254 662831 or email Elizabeth Bower

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