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Armstrong v. (1) Keepmoat Homes Ltd (2) Northumberland County Council (3) Blyth Valley Borough Council, QBD (Newcastle), 03/02/12


Consideration of Local Authority's Duty Of Care To Claimant Who Had Crossed Road From Its Land And A Gap In The Fence:-

HHJ Simon Wood (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) dismissed the Claimant's claim for damages pursuant to the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and in negligence. The Claimant, who was 12 at the time of the accident, claimed damages for personal injuries sustained when she was struck by a motorist causing extensive head injuries as she was trying to cross a dual carriageway. Whilst there were 2 safe routes for crossing the carriageway, the Claimant had taken neither and had attempted to cross at a point of access from a gap in a fence in local authority land adjoining the carriageway. On the evidence, it was held that the local authority had constructive knowledge of the gap in the fence and the path from the edge of the land to the road and thus that it had had impliedly consented to it being used by lawful visitors for the purposes of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957. However, there was no duty on an occupier to prevent a visitor from leaving his land so as to safeguard the visitor from coming into contact with danger on neighbouring land. In the instant case, the danger had not arisen from the land itself. HHJ Simon Wood held that the test of liability was whether the local authority had expressly or impliedly assented to the Claimant attempting to cross the road through the gap in the fence and held that what the Claimant did after she had left the local authority's land had not been expressly or impliedly assented to. Consequently, the claim failed.


  • High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
  • Friday, 16 March 2012