Kane 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 claimant had to demonstrate a real as opposed to a merely fanciful prospect of success.
Held: The authority had foreseen the dangers when granting permission for the development, but had failed to ensure that the sight lines were improved before the development was completed. ‘the starting point must surely be that the defendants did create the source of danger. They it was who required this footpath to be constructed. I cannot accept that in these circumstances they were entitled to wash their hands of that danger and simply leave it to others to cure it by improving the sightlines. It is one thing to say that at the time when the defendants required the construction of this footpath they had every reason to suppose that the improvements along The White Cottage frontage would ultimately allow it to be safely opened and used: quite another to say that they were later entitled to stand idly by whilst, as they must have known, the footpath lay open to the public in a recognisably dangerous state.’ The appellant’s case did not merely have a realistic prospect of success, she had a good case. The authority had also failed ti use its Highways Act powers to have the sight line improved.


Lord Justice Simon Brown, Mr Justice Dyson, Lord Justice May


[2002] 1 WLR 312, [2001] EWCA Civ 878, [2002] LTL 12 April 2002




Highways Act 1980 154(1)


England and Wales


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 . .
CitedRegina v Lam and Others (T/a ‘Namesakes of Torbay’) and Borough of Torbay CA 30-Jul-1997
The claimant sought damages after the planning authority allowed the first defendant to conduct a manufacturing business in the course of which spraying activities took place which caused them personal injuries and loss of business.
Held: The . .
CitedSwain v Hillman CA 21-Oct-1999
Strike out – Realistic Not Fanciful Chance Needed
The proper test for whether an action should be struck out under the new Rules was whether it had a realistic as opposed to a fanciful prospect of success. There was no justification for further attempts to explain the meaning of what are clear . .
CitedStrable v Dartford Borough Council CA 1984
A local authority is not liable in damages for a negligent failure properly to complete its planning law duties. No action lay and the remedy available to an individual in such a case is to object on appeal to the Secretary of State and, if still . .
CitedDunlop v Woolahara Municipal Council PC 1981
A council had no liabiity in a private action for damages for a breach of statutory duty in its handling of a planning application. While doubting that it was so, Lord Diplock left open the question whether an individual injuriously affected by . .

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.

Personal Injury, Negligence

Updated: 01 June 2022; Ref: scu.160097