05 July, 2011
District Judge Shaw
Forbes has successfully defended an Occupiers Liability claim on behalf of Bolton Metropolitan Council.
The Claimant alleged that he had slipped on some chicken fat coming from one of the market stalls whilst walking through the market building in Bolton. The fall was not disputed. The judge however commented "there is more to a claim than simply showing that you have fallen and injured yourself"
The judge stated that the Claimant had failed to prove the fall happened where he said it had. There was also very little evidence to support that he had slipped on grease, nobody else had seen it and there had been no other complaints about presence of grease on the floor that day. The Claimant therefore failed to satisfy the judge that he had slipped on chicken fat or any other substance from the stall.
It was made clear in the judgment that even if chicken fat was proved to be the cause of the fall there was no evidence that the Council had acted negligently. The Council had shown they had a responsive system in place and had implemented it. The Judge endorsed the system employed by Bolton Council in his judgment. The First Defendant requires its stall holders to be responsible for cleaning their own stalls and disposing of their rubbish. Should a spillage occur then it is the responsibility of the stall holder to clean up the spillage unless assistance is specifically requested from the Porters. There was also a specified procedure for disposal of chicken fat.
The judge summarised his judgment saying "I am sorry that the Claimant fell but that fall is not the fault of the First or Second Defendant".
The Claim was dismissed and the Claimant was ordered to pay both Defendants costs.
Bolton Council implements a reactive and responsive system in the market building. The system was endorsed by the court and indeed it was not even challenged during the trial.
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