Brown & ors (claimants/appellants) –v- South West Lakes Trust & ors (defendant/respondents)

Wednesday 8th – Thursday 9th December 2021

The Claimants appeal the order of HHJ Gore, dated 17 February 2021, sitting as a High Court Judge by which he struck out the three Claimants’ claim for damages against two sets of defendants: (a) the First Defendant/Respondent and the Second Defendant/Respondent as occupiers of the reservoir; and (b) the Third Defendant/Respondent as the relevant highway authority.

The Claimants are the widower and children of Mrs Hazel Brown (`HB’).  The First Claimant brings a claim for damages for the estate of HB and the Second and Third Claimants bring a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for loss of financial dependency on HB.

The claims are brought against the First and Second Defendants, it being common ground they were the occupiers of the reservoir and against Third Defendant, it being common ground it was the highway authority for the road. On 16 May 2017 HB was driving around a sweeping left hand bend when she lost control of her vehicle, which then left the carriageway, crashed through a wire fence and into the adjoining reservoir, submerging the vehicle as a result of which HB drowned.

The appeal against the strike out of the claim against the First and Second Defendants raises an issue as to the meaning of ” by reason of danger due to the state of the premises” within the terms of s1 (1) Occupiers Liability Act 1984 (OLA 1984).

The appeal against the strike out of the claim against the Third Defendant raises 2 issues (1) whether a complaint about the design/construction of a highway raises a common law claim of misfeasance (actionable) or non feasance (non actionable) (2)  the sufficiency of a statement of case for the purposes of avoiding a strike out application.

View hearing:

Day 1

Part 1

Part 2

Day 2

Part 1