The claimant had been driving along a narrow country lane at about 25mph. It was covered in snow. His vehicle went into a pothole. His air bag went off and he was injured.

The local authority said the road was inspected every six months and the last inspection was two months before the accident.  They said that was an adequate system for a Defence under section 58 of the Highways Act.

Their system of inspection was for an inspector to drive at 20-25mph and to look out of the front and side of his vehicle for potholes. The Court of Appeal upheld the Trial Judge’s ruling that this inspection was carried out at too fast a speed to allow proper inspection.

They also accepted the Trial Judge could infer that the pot hole was dangerous and had been missed at the initial inspection even in the absence of clear evidence as to the size of the pot hole.

Judgment for the claimant with 40 per cent contributory negligence for driving at that speed in conditions he knew to be dangerous.

Davey -v- Suffolk County Council and another, CA, 23 November 2007.

Counsel: Simon Brindle, 9 Gough Square