Brown v South Lanarkshire Council

Case Report: 2001 G.W.D 6 – 189

The facts: The pursuer slipped on a snowy path in Carluke while walking his dogs. The path was in Moor Park, which was owned and occupied by the defenders. The purser claimed that the defenders failed to take reasonable care to clear the path of snow on that day. The job of clearing snow/ gritting paths had been given to a contractor who gave evidence to the effect that neither he nor his employees ever went into the parks to clear the paths, including Moor Park.

The decision: The pursuer accepted that clearing the path was not a priority for the Council. The issue was therefore not whether there had been a failure to clear the path in the park, but whether there had been a failure to carry it out in a reasonable manner. As there had been no evidence to show that either the Council or their contractors had cleared the path at all, the court held that there had been no breach of a duty of care on the part of the Council. It was further held that even if the defenders had been found to be in breach of a duty of care, 50% contributory negligence would have been attributed to the pursuer as he was aware that the path had not been cleared or gritted.

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