Posts Tagged ‘tort’

A Good Day

July 23rd, 2010

In a previous post, I was a little unkind about defendants in libel actions wimping out before trial.  I’m pleased to say that there was no wimping out on the part of those defendants, and with the assistance of some dedicated pro bono blogger-lawyers, today this case was struck out.

I will never do the tale justice, so I suggest you head over to the Jack of Kent’s blog for a summary of the case.  I’m sure the last instalment will be posted tomorrow as their tide of celebration recedes.

Also, it seems the Jack of Kent is just five followers away from the 6,000 he aspires to – if you are not yet a groupie, go to and follow him!

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Daily Little Law Links

July 16th, 2010

This story, from a Canadian newspaper, contains some stunning accusations about the US refusing Dutch help to tackle the capped oil leak in the Gulf.  If many of the points it raises are true, it may allow defences of contributory negligence, or a failure to mitigate the loss against the US Government (assuming BP would be willing to take the PR hit). Highlights include an alleged block on the use of Dutch equipment that would remove 99.9985% of the oil in the water at sea in preference for the US method of scooping up all the water along with the oil and taking it back to shore.   An interesting read. (Hat-tip to Samizdata*)

The phrase “Act of  God” is an infamous get-out clause.  However, this article lists some US cases where God is being replaced by the infinitely more attractive litigation target of energy companies.  Very briefly, I think the argument goes something like: “Katrina destroyed my house, Katrina was caused by green-house gases, you release green-house gases, therefore you destroyed my house.”  I would imagine they are going to be testing causation to extreme with that.  (Hat-tip US site Legal Geekery)

To complete my stateside round-up, news that erroneously gripping iPhone users have cleared the first hurdle in their class action against Apple.

*This site is often blocked by corporate firewalls in the UK, I think because of their literal stance on the second amendment to the US Constitution.

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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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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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Daily Little Law Links

November 14th, 2009
  • The BNP, so keen on publicity that they have barred journalists from their conference, passed a motion to extend their membership criteria in response to the High Court ruling that their old policy contravened the Race Relations Act 1973.  The full (presumably second hand) story is in The Guardian.
  • Stories like this are the best case for the International Criminal Court. If those involved they were likely to be tried by an independent international body, it would be a far more effective deterrent than a court martial.
  • Surely lots of extra points for the lawyer who can show that Simon Cowell is liable for this story in The Telegraph.
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