Great North Eastern Railway Limited v Hart and Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and Network Rail Infrastructure Limited: QBD 30 Oct 2003

A driver had crashed through a barrier before a bridge, and descended into the path of a train. Ten people died. He now sought a contribution order against the Secretary of State for the condition of the barrier which was said to be faulty.
Held: ‘ . . . in building Little Heck Bridge on which the M62 motorway was to be carried and under which there was a main line railway track the department was under a duty to take reasonable care that not only the users of the motorway but also people and property who could foreseeably be on the railway track would not be exposed to an unreasonable risk of injury.’ However it was ‘ . . . a matter for the professional judgment of highway and bridge designers and engineers to determine what the length of the approach safety fencing or barrier should be. ‘ In this case there was no such negligence.
The Hon Mr Justice Morland
[2003] EWHC 2450 (QB)
Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 1(1), Highways Act 1959
England and Wales
CitedLevine v Morris 1970
Lord Widgery said: ‘All motorists are guilty of errors of one kind or another, and I think it would be quite unreal if roads were designed on the assumption that no driver would ever err.’ . .
CitedBaxter v Stockton-on-Tees Corporation 1959
The court was asked to set out the responsibilities of the local authority as highway authority for any failure to construct, maintain and provide signage on its roads: ‘As to the hypothetical case against the county council, there is, as we have . .
CitedHarbinson v Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland 1983
A number of youths pushed a large heavy cylinder from the public highway from a roundabout into the infant plaintiff’s garden. The cylinder struck her causing her severe injuries. The DOE, the Highway Authority, unsuccessfully sought to have the . .
CitedCaparo Industries Plc v Dickman and others HL 8-Feb-1990
Limitation of Loss from Negligent Mis-statement
The plaintiffs sought damages from accountants for negligence. They had acquired shares in a target company and, relying upon the published and audited accounts which overstated the company’s earnings, they purchased further shares.
Held: The . .
CitedStovin v Wise (Norfolk City Council, 3rd party) CA 16-Feb-1994
A road user was injured on a corner which was known to the highway authority to be dangerous. The authority had sought to make arrangements with the owner of land adjoining the highway to remove a bank which obstructed the view.
Held: The . .
CitedLarner v Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council CA 20-Dec-2000
The duty on a local authority to promote road safety did not remove from them the discretion as to how that duty was to be implemented. A claim that the authority had failed to place certain signage, and that an accident had occurred which might not . .
CitedKane v New Forest District Council CA 13-Jun-2001
A pedestrian walked from a footpath into the road and was hit by a car. She sought damages from the highway authority, saying that they had allowed vegetation to grow to an extent to make it impossible to be seen. As a second tier appeal, the . .
CitedK v P ChD 1993
The court considered when orders might be made under the Act for a contribution to be made to damages payable. Ferris J said: ‘In my judgment the ex turpi causa defence is not available as an answer to a claim for contribution under the Act of 1978. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 January 2021; Ref: scu.187278