Aidan O’Brien succeeds in highways claim

Published: 18/02/2015 | News

Aidan O’Brien recently appeared for the Defendant company, which undertook highways inspections and maintenance operations, on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council in a successful highways claim.

The Claimant alleged that he had sustained personal injuries following a fall caused by a defect in the highway. His claim was framed in common law negligence and/or public nuisance. It was common ground that the Defendant had contractual obligations to and/or was an agent of the Council.

The claim was defended on the basis that:

  • The Claimant had failed to plead a duty of care against the Defendant company;
  • In any event, no duty of care arose vis-à-vis the parties;
  • The alleged ‘defect’ did not constitute an actionable defect; and
  • The Defendant had performed regular inspections in a competent manner.

During cross-examination, the Claimant made a series of unexpected assertions that conflicted with his extensive medical records. The Claimant was challenged on these points at length, following which the Judge asked whether the Defendant considered it necessary to call any evidence of its own.

The Judge determined that the Claimant’s answers under cross-examination were ‘deeply troubling and confusing’ and it was apparent that he was not a ‘credible witness of truth’.

The claim was dismissed and the Defendant was awarded all of its costs.

Author: Aidan O'Brien Farrars (