In Smith -v- Northamptonshire CC it was suggested that services could be withdrawn if an occupier wouldn’t do a repair of a clear hazard in their home:

“But all that the Council could do, if dissatisfied with the ramp, was request that it be changed and, if it was not changed, refuse to allow its employees to use it”

In this claim, the service user had a frayed, slippery stair carpet. The council asked her to repair it. She had Alzheimer’s and could not manage her own affairs, so her children just put brown sticky tape down on the frayed parts.

That was not effective and in fact proved just as significant a potential slipping hazard as before. So the council issued another warning and request for repair on an inspection eight months later. Before anything was done, a few days later, the claimant slipped down the staircase.

The occupier had no legal capacity or insurance to defend the claim. However, the Judge agreed that the employer should have gone further in ensuring the stairs were either fixed or services removed.

Judgment for the claimant.
Bromley CC

Successful hospital assault claim

The claimant was a registered general nurse for a care trust that had taken on a privately managed home. Part of the duties included handing over money on appointment to a man who, it was felt, was vulnerable to financial abuse.

One day, he assaulted the claimant out of the blue. She had no knowledge he had a recent violent past, including an attack on a nurse three months before and breaking his budgie’s neck two months before that. She had not been told nor did the previous manager of the home record it on his risk assessment.

Would knowledge of such a record have made any difference to the outcome on the day of the incident?


The lack of information gave her a “false sense of security”. Had she known about the previous assault and the budgie incident, that would have “put her on her guard”. The Judge found that these should have been in the risk assessments and agreed that the risk assessment was for the staff and not the service user.

Judgment for the claimant.
Stockport CC