Consumer law

When a handlebar of the claimant’s mountain bike had a latent defect, which caused it to fracture and the claimant to fall off and suffer serious injury, the importer of the bicycle was strictly liable for the claimant’s injuries under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 Section 3(1).

There was evidence from experts in metal and the Judge concluded the handlebar was weaker and more brittle than it should have been, especially for a mountain bike used for off-road riding.

The company that had imported the bike was strictly liable for the injury caused by this defect, even though they could not foresee the injury.

Alan Peter Ide -v- ATB Sales Ltd (2007). [2007] EWHC 1667 (QB), QBD (Gray J) 17 July 2007

The so called “killer” petal

There was a lot of publicity for this case. Someone had a serious injury from a slip outside a flower stall. It was reported they had slipped on a solitary petal. In fact, the evidence was that there had been repeated complaints by the railway station at which the flower stall was based that there was a risk of injury to the public because of water spillage and fallen petals from flower displays and the lack of cleaning.

The court heard that, because this was in a station concourse, the duty of care was higher than in an ordinary florist’s shop. It was extremely busy and there had to be some effective system for getting rid of dangers that will exist from time-to-time, citing Ward -v- Tesco Stores (1976) 1WLR810.

The defendant said they had a “clean-as-you-go” policy and responded to complaints. The court found a purely reactive system was not enough. There was no safe and proper system of work and the occupier was in breach of its duty of care.

Brian Piccolo -v- (1) Larkstock Ltd (T/A Chiltern Flowers) (2) Chiltern Railway Co Ltd (3) Richard C Grew (4) Anthony Abela (5) First Choice Cleaning Supplies Ltd (2007). QBD (Judge J Altman) 17 July 07