Slippery steps mishap rebounds on magistrates' court


Fall Down StairsIn an unusual twist of fortunes, a SE London court has conceded liability for an accident caused by slippery steps at its entrance.

Having attended Bromley Magistrates' Court one day in July 2009, our client, who had been at a hearing in his capacity as a young offenders' care practitioner, slipped on the descending steps outside the building's entrance.

The slip caused him to fall and he sustained muscle injuries to his neck and back.

Instructing Simpson Millar, the youth worker contended that the steps were slippery, noting that after the accident the defective grips on the steps were replaced.

We wrote to the court alleging 6 breaches of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957. Among these were that the defendant had breached its common law duty of care in failing to ensure our client was reasonably safe in using the premises, and were negligent in exposing him to a danger which it ought to have known was present.

Unfortunately the court, finding itself in the unusual position of accounting for its own shortcomings instead of dealing with those of others, disputed liability for a lengthy period.

However, we were able to prove that the grips on the steps had been changed following our client's mishap and that no risk assessment had been undertaken. In light of this, the court had little choice but to admit responsibility.

The defendant at first offered £5,150 in settlement of the claim. Following negotiations, however, we were able to finalise compensation of £8,000 for our client.

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