Archive for December, 2009


December 31st, 2009

A slightly odd topic to round the year off with, but let’s consider a slippery patch of negligence.  John Redwood worries on his blog about the liability of those who have attempted to clear ice from pavements and driveways becoming liable for any personal injury that follows the clearing, whereas if the ice had been left no liability arises.

Here is my take on the idea, prefaced by saying I am quite still feeling quite ‘festive’, so would happily acknowledge a better response – please use the comments to correct me.

First up, I’d suggest the last idea is false in certain circumstances.  Schools, hospitals and other public services do have a duty of care to maintain safe access and these organisations should be working to clear ice on their premises.  I’d say the same rule applies to shopping centres and the large supermarket car park that I skied across the other day.

As for the pavement outside your house, which I think is Mr Redwood’s concern; I do see the legal argument for liability.  If this space is full of ice, like the whole street, this is an unavoidable natural event and so there is no-one with a duty of care.  If a dedicated householder sets out to clear the pavement, then they create an intervening event, presumably accepting a duty of care as they do so.  On the second day, our householder is feeling less dedicated, and does not clear the fresh ice.  Mrs Miggins, who has taken care all along the road on the obvious ice, sees the clear patch outside the house in question and gallops across, slipping on the unseen sheet-ice formed by the clearing.  In this case, presumably we have met the test of the duty of care (clearing the ice on day one), failing to meet this duty (not bothering on day two) and an injury results (Mrs Miggins breaking her hip and being off work for 3 months) our diligent householder would have to pay compensation to the careless Mrs Miggins.

Surely the answer is (like many things in life) either do it properly, or don’t do it at all!

A very happy 2010 to all, I think it going to be a very interesting year!

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The Death Penalty

December 29th, 2009

I wanted to comment on today’s execution, and link to a wider discussion about how the death penalty has no part to play in civilised world, but as is often the case Amnesty have made the case much more eloquently.  Read here.

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December 17th, 2009

The story of the day is clearly the BA decision, which I’m very keen to take a flick though as neither side disputed that even if the ballot had excluded all the ineligible staff, they would have still had a strong vote in favour. My hurried post was really to comment on the media’s posturing over this story…


It is very simple: YES, you can use reasonable force to protect yourself and your home. NO, you cannot, once your intruders have departed, gather up the family and chase down your unwanted guests, restraining one of them as your attempt to beat them to death with a cricket bat. Whilst perhaps satisfying, that is vigilantism, and we’ve had a Police service for quite some time now with a view to preventing this. Had Mr Hussain contented himself with just one swing of his bat, or simply held the chap until the Police pootled across, all would have been well.


“The judge told them: “If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.”

Where is the controversy??

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Bye Bye BA?

December 14th, 2009

Readers will remember in this post I warned the BA – Iberia merger would not be painless. Clearly the stress is getting to their workers as BA staff have announced their plan to reward themselves with a 12-days-of-Christmas holiday, downing tools (or coffee pots?) from 22nd Dec until 2nd January.

I’d assume this is just an excellent negotiating stance as surely to ground all BA flights for almost a full fortnight over the Christmas period would mean the airline would never take to the skies again?

Story here.

If you manage to see the press conference, listen out near the beginning for the journalist ever-so-slightly losing his temper as his Christmas travel plans evaporate.

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Forensic Evidence

December 13th, 2009

There was a really interesting programme on Radio 4 this week about how the police use forensic evidence and how it is possible that the underfunding of the service that provides the analysis has already lead to miscarriages of justice.  I’m afraid it’s not my cup of tea, but would be an intelligent point to raise during interviews if you have expressed an interest in that field.  For the public, the message seemed to be if you find yourself on the wrong end of forensic evidence, heed your lawyer’s advice to pay out for another round of independent analysis.

You can listen to the programme again here.

In other news, Guido is breaking injunctions again.

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A Short Break

December 4th, 2009

There will be a little break in posting here to give me time to do a short evaluation after posting everyday since this blog began… Check back on Monday and have a good weekend!

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Daily Little Law Links

December 1st, 2009
  • Some crazy people in the US have chosen to become obsessed with the British Nationality Act 1948.
  • Knowing of an unlawful subtenant is about to become quite profitable.
  • More seriously, secret evidence suffers another setback.
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