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Law Bulletin - September 2006

Harassment award of £817,000 [Liability]

This is another significant success using the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Is common lift in building an employer’s work equipment? [Liability]

The claimant worked for the defendant on the second floor of a building that housed several other employers and was let to the defendant. There was a lift, stair and lobby area for all businesses which used the building.

Widening of the scope of the duty to maintain public highways [Liability]

The Court of Appeal held that a highway authority can be liable under the Highways Act 1980 s.41(1) for accidents caused by standing water on the highway, resulting from a blocked drain.

Duty to provide short limbed pupil with special assistance [Thompsons’ cases]

The claimant had a type of dwarfism, Pseudoachondroplasia, that causes short limbs, hypermobile joints and pain. His secondary school knew of his condition when he joined them.

Toddlers’ falls at nursery [Thompsons’ cases]

Our client was a four year old who was attending an after school club. She was told to wash her hands before eating. She ran towards the exit. Directly in front of the exit doors was a large metal pole used to support the roof.

Duty to guard blades – strict liability in terms of the Factories Act? [Thompsons’ cases]

The client worked as a groundsman at a school. He used a seated mower to cut the grass.

Manual handling – visual checks of weight [Thompsons’ cases]

The client worked for a brewery as a driver. He was delivering beer to a pub. While attempting to manoeuvre what he thought was a full 36-gallon cask, the client lost his balance and fell off the side of an open curtain-sided lorry to the ground outside.

Yet another withdrawal of admission case [Practice and Procedure]

Following Sowerby -v- Charlton the Court of Appeal have now waded in with another decision. Lady Justice Smith said that it was clear that Sowerby had caused consternation: it appeared to some that defendants were now free to withdraw pre-action admissions and there would be nothing that a claimant could do about it.

Withdrawal of admission subject to restrictions [Practice and Procedure]

The claimant stumbled over a raised manhole cover. The defendants admitted liability pre-issue.

Limitation [Practice and Procedure]

We recently reported the good news of the overturning by the House of Lords of the of the Walkley decision in the case of Horton -v- Sadler. Keith Patten has written an excellent article on this, which will appear in the September edition of the Journal of Personal Injury Law.

Periodical payments and the Retail Prices Index [Damages]

There is no doubt that the most important case this month is the Court of Appeal decision holding that the power under the Damages Act 1996 Section 2 (9), to allow a departure from making periodical payment orders subject to the Retail Prices Index, could be exercised as the court considered appropriate and fair in all the circumstances, without the need to find exceptional circumstances.

Moderate injuries [Damages]

The claimant was a cyclist who was knocked off his bike. He suffered multiple soft tissue injuries to the forehead settling within a few weeks; to a shoulder settling within two months; to the right knee settling within six months and to the left knee settling within nine months.

Criminal injuries Compensation Appeals Panel [Information]

The CICAP has issued an index and a complete set of the chairman's published Directions, Practice Statement and Protocol.