Fernquest v City and County of Swansea [2011] EWCA Civ 1712  

On 10 December 2008 the Claimant (C), aged 67, took a park and ride bus to his local town. The scheme was operated by City and County of Swansea and the bus was operated by First Cymru (not a party in the claim). When he alighted the bus and walked a few steps away from the bus shelter he slipped on ice on the pavement and fell, sustaining a fracture to his left hand and torn ligaments.

The claim was brought on two bases as follows:-

  • breach of Section 41(1)(a) of the Highways Act 1980 in that the highway had not been kept clear of ice;
  • negligence as operators of the park and ride scheme alleging that the service ought to have been stopped due to the conditions and that C should have been warned before boarding the bus about the icy pavement.

At first instance, the Judge found that the Council had a proper and adequate system in place for gritting highways and found no breach of Section 41. The claim in negligence based upon the claim that the service ought not to have been operated also failed.

The Judge did find in C's favour, however, on his claim that he should have been warned of the presence of the icy pavement. The Judge concluded that it was not unfair, unjust or unreasonable to expect a warning to be given to passengers.

The Defendant Council appealed.

The Court of Appeal held that to make a bus company liable to compensate passengers who fall near bus stops when they have completed their journey, even if they have knowledge of the hazard present there, would be a considerable extension of negligence. The appeal therefore failed.