Our client was walking her dogs along a National Trust public footpath through a field. There were cows with calves in the field. When she noticed the cows, the client placed her dogs over a wall into another field so as not to distress the cows.

She then proceeded to a kissing gate to get out of the field. As she walked to the gate, a cow attacked her. The cow charged her and trampled over her. The tenant farmer with control of the cows admitted liability.

He was liable for having cows with calves in a field (that is cows in a hostile protective temperament as per the Animals Act criteria for characteristics liable to attack the public)

He was negligent for not fencing the cows off. She was awarded £54,000.

Highways: 25mm hazard in road actionable

The council’s intervention level for hazards was 40 mm. The claimant went over a fire hydrant, which had sunk 25mm, on his bike and fell due to this.

Three of four highway inspectors who gave evidence agreed it was a hazard for bikes at, say, 20 mph and had they noticed it, they would have commissioned a 28-day repair. The Judge was thus able to accept the hydrant was dangerous under s.41 of the Highways Act.

The hydrant was owned by Yorkshire Water who relied on inspections by the Council. Photos proved the defect had not altered from the date of the accident to January 2006 when it was reported for repair as a result of a claim made seven months after the accident. Thus the defendant could not reasonably rely on s.58, as their system of six-month checks did not pick this up. The claimant won.

Leeds CC, 15 October 2008.