Jane Marianne Sandhar, John Stuart Murray v Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions: CA 5 Nov 2004

The claimant’s husband died when his car skidded on hoar frost. She claimed the respondent was liable under the Act and at common law for failing to keep it safe.
Held: The respondent had not assumed a general responsibility to all road users to ensure that all or any trunk roads would be salted in freezing conditions. It is the primary responsibility of motorists to take care for their own safety and that of their passengers and other road users, and there was no evidence that the deceased had relied on an expectation that the road had been salted. Appeal dismissed.


Lord Justice Brooke Lord Justice May Lord Justice Thomas


Times 15-Nov-2004, [2004] EWCA Civ 1440




Highways Act 1980


England and Wales


CitedGoodes v East Sussex County Council HL 16-Jun-2000
The claimant was driving along a road. He skidded on ice, crashed and was severely injured. He claimed damages saying that the Highway authority had failed to ‘maintain’ the road.
Held: The statutory duty on a highway authority to keep a road . .
CitedCross v Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council CA 27-Jun-1997
The Council’s duty to maintain a highway is not absolute. It must take reasonable steps to prevent or clear ice forming on pathway. Lord Justice Evans analysed the application of Section 41 to a situation which arose from ice and snow. In any case . .
CitedHaydon v Kent County Council CA 1978
Impacted snow and ice had built up on a steep, narrow, made-up footpath from Monday to Thursday during a short wintry spell. The plaintiff slipped and broke her ankle. The highway authority operated a system of priorities. Their resources were fully . .
CitedGorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council HL 1-Apr-2004
Statutory Duty Not Extended by Common Law
The claimant sought damages after a road accident. The driver came over the crest of a hill and hit a bus. The road was not marked with any warning as to the need to slow down.
Held: The claim failed. The duty could not be extended to include . .
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 . .
Appeal fromSandhar, Murray v Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions QBD 19-Jan-2004
The claimant asserted a common law duty on the respondent to maintain a roadway free of frost.
Held: No such common law duty existed. Where parliament has conferred a discretionary power, ‘ . . the minimum preconditions for basing a duty of . .
CitedStovin v Wise, Norfolk County Council (Third Party) HL 24-Jul-1996
Statutory Duty Does Not Create Common Law Duty
The mere existence of statutory power to remedy a defect cannot of itself create a duty of care to do so. A highway authority need not have a duty of care to highway users because of its duty to maintain the highway. The two stage test ‘involves . .
CitedTomlinson v Congleton Borough Council and others HL 31-Jul-2003
The claimant dived into a lake, severely injuring himself. The council appealed liability, arguing that it owed him no duty of care under the Act since he was a trespasser. It had placed warning signs to deter swimmers.
Held: The council’s . .
CitedBird v Pearce CA 1979
The plaintiff was a passenger in a car on a major road which who was injured in a collision with a car which emerged from a minor road. The driver of the second car, who was agreed (as between the two cars) to be 90% responsible, joined the County . .
CitedCapital and Counties Plc and Another v Hampshire County Council; Etc CA 20-Mar-1997
Three cases were brought against fire services after what were said to be negligent responses to call outs. On one, the fire brigade was called to a fire at office premises in Hampshire. The fire triggered the operation of a heat-activated sprinkler . .
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 . .
CitedMercer v South Eastern and Chatham Railway Companies’ Managing Committee KBD 1922
A claimant was knocked down by a train when he went through an unlocked gate onto the railway line. The defendants were held liable, because it was their practice, known to the plaintiff, to keep the gate locked when trains were passing, but the . .
CitedMerrett v John RH Babb CA 15-Feb-2001
The applicant had been employed as a surveyor by a firm which had subsequently become insolvent. The firm’s run off professional indemnity insurance had lapsed. He had provided the negligent survey, and he was sued in person.
Held: He was . .
CitedHenderson v Merrett Syndicates Ltd HL 25-Jul-1994
Lloyds Agents Owe Care Duty to Member; no Contract
Managing agents conducted the financial affairs of the Lloyds Names belonging to the syndicates under their charge. It was alleged that they managed these affairs with a lack of due careleading to enormous losses.
Held: The assumption of . .
CitedPhelps v Hillingdon London Borough Council; Anderton v Clwyd County Council; Gower v Bromley London Borough Council; Jarvis v Hampshire County Council HL 28-Jul-2000
The plaintiffs each complained of negligent decisions in his or her education made by the defendant local authorities. In three of them the Court of Appeal had struck out the plaintiff’s claim and in only one had it been allowed to proceed.
CitedOLL Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport QBD 22-Jul-1997
Coastguard Not liable in Negligence
Eight children with a teacher and two instructors set off on a canoeing trip but did not return. They got into difficulties at sea. Two became separated from the rest. The canoes capsized and sank. Some tried to swim ashore. Two more members became . .
CitedKent v Griffiths and Others (No 2) CA 10-Feb-2000
An ambulance service could be liable in negligence in respect of its response to an emergency call-out where for no good reason there was an unreasonable delay in responding, and the servivice had accepted the call. The ambulance service was . .
CitedMichael Alexander Watson v British Boxing Board of Control Ltd, World Boxing Organisation Incorporated CA 19-Dec-2000
The claimant was seriously injured in a professional boxing match governed by rules established by the defendant’s rules. Ringside medical facilities were available, but did not provide immediate resuscitation. By the time he received resuscitation . .

Cited by:

Appealed toSandhar, Murray v Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions QBD 19-Jan-2004
The claimant asserted a common law duty on the respondent to maintain a roadway free of frost.
Held: No such common law duty existed. Where parliament has conferred a discretionary power, ‘ . . the minimum preconditions for basing a duty of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Road Traffic

Updated: 27 June 2022; Ref: scu.219323