Harbinson 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 claim dismissed.
Held: Accepting the plaintiff’s contention ‘Mr Montague also contended that the failure to erect crash barriers at a roundabout would be evidence of negligence by the DOE, since it was foreseeable that road users could leave the road at this point. Once that factual proposition is accepted (and if the presence of a suitable barrier would have prevented this accident), the difficulty of foreseeing the precise way in which the injury was caused does not bar the plaintiff: Hughes .v. Lord Advocate [1963] AC 837, Harvey .v. Singer [1990] SC 155. Although this alleged failure is a fault of omission, the highway authority would not, if otherwise found negligent, escape under the cloak of non-feasance, provided it was responsible for introducing the roundabout.’


Lord Lowry CJNI


[1983] 9 NIJB


Northern Ireland

Cited by:

CitedGreat 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.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.187294