06 October, 2016
Lloyd-Jones v Tameside MBC
Tameside County Court - DJ Osborne
The claimant attended a play area owned by the local authority with her grandchildren. Whilst taking photographs of her family, she stepped backwards and tripped over a low post which formed part of the playground and sustained personal injury.
The issue was whether the stump in question was dangerous or in other words whether the local authority had done all that was reasonable to ensure the safety of visitors. The Judge held that the stump at the accident locus was clear to be seen. The claimant conceded in her evidence that she was walking backwards at the time of the accident and that she did not look where she was going.
The Judge remarked "few things are not dangerous when someone is walking backwards. The duty owed to someone walking backwards was significantly less". Other obstacles including tree stumps were present upon which the claimant could have fallen over when not looking where she was going and the Judge could not accept that there was a duty on the defendant to remove them all. He agreed that the stump was not a genuine hazard and dismissed the claim.
We welcome the common sense decision of the Court. People need to look where they are going. The equipment in the playground and, in particular, the low wooden post, was entirely suitable and appropriate and was subjected to regular and detailed inspections.