Sandhar, 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 care upon the existence of a statutory power, if it can be done at all, are, first, that it would in the circumstances have been irrational not to have exercised the power, so that there was in effect a public law duty to act, and secondly, that there are exceptional grounds for holding that the policy of the statute requires compensation to be paid to persons who suffer loss because the power was not exercised.’ In the absence of a duty under section 41(1) of the 1980 Act, the respondent had power under section 62(2) to promote the scheme to prevent ice on highways. Section 62(2) provides for work for the improvement of the highway. There was no general common law duty on highway authorities to prevent the formation of ice on roads.
Mr Justice Newman
[2004] EWHC 28 (QB), Gazette 05-Feb-2004
Bailii
Highways Act 1980 41(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
Appealed toJane 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 . .
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, 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 appeal . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromJane 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 April 2021; Ref: scu.192049