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Snow clearance

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secsee1 | 13:58 Fri 08th Jan 2010 | Law
24 Answers
Somebody that I know slipped on the snow and broke an ankle whilst entering a local pub yesterday
the person is threatening to sue the owner saying that they have a duty of care towards customers
entering their premises by clearing the path outside of the pub ensuring reasonable safety of visitors
(The path is on the landlords land & not public)
The landlord says he did not clear it because he has heard that by clearing snow & ice from outside
of the premises he renders himself open to prosecution if he did so & somebody slipped.
So who is Correct ?


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The landlord is correct. If he tries to clear the path himself and someone tripped, they could say he has tampered with the path. By doing nothing, the snow and ice is an "act of God" and so no-one is to blame.

Shame really, as everyone used to clear their paths before this "blaim" culture came in.
Ouch! of course I mean "blame".
If the snow was uncleared then the landlord is not at fault as he can not be responsible for weather. had he cleared the snow then he may have been responsible. What a sad world we live in when people are looking to balme and sue each other when it was clearly just an accident that always happens in the snow. Would he sue his family if he slipped on the path at home? Muppets!
Question Author
Thank you for your answers but I think that you may all be wrong, after reading your answers I looked up
government acts relating to snow & ice & found the following extract under ''The Occupiers Liability Act (1984)
which I am told is still in force.

Private landowners are not obliged to clear snow or ice from the highway, even if the road or pavement passes over their land. Indeed, from a legal point of view it may be risky for private individuals to clear these areas. By sweeping snow from one part of the pavement you can create a danger in another area and if someone is injured, you will be liable for negligence or nuisance.
On commercial property, it is a different matter. You owe visitors & customers a duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to take reasonable care to ensure that they are reasonably safe. This means that if you know someone (such as a customer) is likely to walk up your path, and you also know that the path is slippery, you must take reasonable steps to clear the path of snow and grit it if necessary.
That would make sense if that is still in force. In that case, yes he should have cleared it.
I would tell him to sue then, make another pub go bankrupt! This country makes me sick!
after reading that ,you have already said " (The path is on the landlords land & not public) " which means he is not liable due to the fact " Private landowners are not obliged to clear snow or ice from the highway, even if the road or pavement passes over their land. Indeed, from a legal point of view it may be risky for private individuals to clear these areas. By sweeping snow from one part of the pavement you can create a danger in another area and if someone is injured, you will be liable for negligence or nuisance. " either i am missing something or he is not liable
The pub is a commercial property though.

Sad state of the times when people feel the need to blame someone else for their own stupidity.
It reminds me of the advert on TV which has a woman saying, "When I fell over on the wet floor, my first thought was would it be expensive to claim". Jeez, my first thought would be have I broken any bones!
Everyone wants to sue everyone, we have got people bleating round here because they have slipped on the pavement and are going to sue the council, Its winter, Its cold, Snow & ice are slippy, Be careful! If the landlord had cleared the path then someone would probably be sueing him because they tripped over the pile of snow that he cleared or slipped on the wet surface left by yhe melted snow! Can we not just be responsible for our own actions? It's not like the landlord put the snow there, the whole bloody country is covered in it!
thanks squarebear i can be thick sometimes ,well i hope the law has changed since then!
I hope it has changed too. This country is a joke with people tripping up then trying to blame others.
The laws are a bit strange in these situations, I am a health & safety manager for a large construcyion company. When carrying out work on pavements if we just close the pavement, put up fencing and a sign saying footpath closed and let the pedestrians fend for themselves then we can't be blamed for any accidents as a result of this. However if we put up barriers and set up a pedestrian diversion to keep them safe from trafic and our works and one of them trips up a kerb or something else that was there before we began our works then we are liable. We get so many people trying to sue, you wouldn't believe it! What a wonderful country this is!
Teleph0ne - you are incorrect in asserting that it might force the pub towards bankrupcy since, being a commercial property to which the public has access, the landlord must (by law) have public liability insurance. It is the insurer that would assess the validity of the claim (and hopefully find a good reason to reject it).
Secsee and buildersmate are committing the cardinal error of looking at the facts, relating them to the actual law and drawing conclusions from that.

A Schoolboy error.

In fact the correct procedure is to read the Express or the Mail, realise that the country is going to hell in a handbasket through political correctness and compensation culture and use that information to form a supposition of what the law is.

Followed by a lot of tutting and discussions about how it was much better when "we were young"

I hope you've both learnt a lot
He's liable as an 'occupier' He has statutory duty of care to visitors and is in breach of that duty in failing to keep the property safe. That's a different question from negligence. He could be sued for negligence if he'd tried to clear the road outside and done it so very carelessly that a new risk, not existing before, obvious to any reasonable person, was thereby created and someone was injured as a result. But the liability of an occupier is greater than that in the law of negligence.Basically, once they're on your property your liable for any mishap that befalls anyone, even a trespasser, resulting from the state of the property. .
Most public liability insurance has a hefty excess, ours is 10k so the landlord would still get a bill.
I know for a fact that my council has limited any gritting because of the liability reason rather than a plain shortage in grit/salt etc. I have no doubt other councils are operating in the same manner.

The people to blame are those that can't wait to make a claim for something should they slip/fall in snow or anything else.
Have a look at this... makes some interesting reading.
xxFidgetxx's link sums up whats wrong with this country compared to anywhere else.

Most people are obsessed with health and safety, obsessed with not upsetting someone and obsessed with worry that someone will sue us.

I'm certainly not afraid to upset anyone and would fight and fight in court over anyone attempting to sue me. Too many out there are gutless individuals with no bottle. The UK is a laughing stock.
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Thanks everyone for your interesting input, The latest I have heard is that the person who slipped & broke a bone has now seen a solicitor, who in turn says that the landlord is liable for not keeping his premises reasonably safe for visitors & customers
and is taking on the case on a no win no fee basis, so shop, restaurant & pub owners
beware.... sombody could be waiting to sue you.

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