On 3 February 2012, the High Court gave judgment in Dionne Armstrong v Keepmoat Homes, Northumberland County Council, and Blyth Valley Borough Council (2012), a case concerning a girl who was injured crossing a dual carriageway accessed via the local authority's land. The claimant was hit by a car whilst crossing a busy dual carriageway, suffering serious head injuries.
It was argued that the council had failed to prevent access to the road by erecting a fence on their land, despite having knowledge of the gap in the fence situated at the adjoining land.
The main issues were:
- Whether the council had actual or constructive knowledge of the gap in the fence and path across its land to the road.
- Whether it was under a duty to prevent a visitor on its land from coming into contact with a danger on neighbouring land.
- Whether the council had impliedly assented to the claimant crossing the road, by its failure to prevent access to the road at that point.
The court held that the council had constructive knowledge of the gap and the path. Nonetheless, there was no duty under the Occupier's Liability Act 1957, or at common law, for an occupier to prevent a visitor from leaving his land, in order to prevent that visitor coming into contact with a danger on neighbouring land. While the council had assented to the claimant's use of the path across its land, it had not expressly or implied assent to her actions once she left their land.
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