Q&As

Are there any case authorities for where a claimant fell off a pavement due to poor lighting?

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Published on LexisPSL on 10/03/2020

The following PI & Clinical Negligence Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are there any case authorities for where a claimant fell off a pavement due to poor lighting?

It is well established that the duty to maintain the highway is imposed by section 41(1) of the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980), which provides as follows:

‘The authority who are for the time being the highway authority for a highway maintainable at the public expense are under a duty, subject to subsections (2) and (4) below, to maintain the highway.’

The duty under HiA 1980, s 41 is subject to the statutory defence, provided by HiA 1980, s 58.

The provision in HiA 1980, with regard to street lighting, is to be found in HiA 1980, ss 97 and 98, the former of which provides:

‘A highway authority may provide lighting for the purposes of any highway or proposed highway for which they are or will be the highway authority, and may for that purpose—

(a) contract with any persons for the supply of gas, electricity or other means of lighting; and

(b) construct and maintain such lamps, posts and other works as they consider necessary.’

Two questions arise, namely whether the HiA 1980, s 41 duty to maintain the highway encompasses a duty to maintain street lighting and whether HiA 1980, s 97 imposes a positive duty upon the highway authority to maintain street lighting, breach of which may give rise to a remedy in private law

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