The claimant tripped in the road. He went back a couple of days later with his shop steward to take photos of the defect.

At trial, the highway inspector claimed the defect was clearly under 25mm and said that, in his view, it would not even be assessed as an actionable defect if he was inspecting the area. They showed the usual evidence of a system of inspection and repair.

However, the shop steward who took the photos was adamant that, while the photos did not clearly show the extent of the defect, that it was over 25mm and also from his own personal experience it had been there for approximately a year prior to the accident.

The Judge accepted his evidence and found the defect was dangerous, had not been spotted during the previous inspection and that this was evidence of negligence. No contributory negligence.

The claimant was awarded £1,300 for a strained ligament in his little finger and costs were in excess of £9,000.

McDermott -v- Newcastle CC, 21 November 2006, Newcastle-upon-Tyne County Court, J Walton

General state of disrepair enough to win

This was another case where the Judge found the photographs did not do the defect in question justice. He called for a site inspection where all parties at trial visited the accident location.

He found that, even though the claimant was unable to confirm exactly where he had fallen, the general area did present a real source of danger and a breach of section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 had been shown in that the entire area was likely to cause a fall.

The Judge found for the claimant.

Williams -v- Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, Pontypridd County Court, 20 November 2006, DJ Doll.