Direct.gov has published new advice on individuals’ rights and responsibilities when clearing snow and ice from public areas, after many people were put off last winter by fears of litigation. The guidance confirms that there is no law which prevents members of the public from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside their property or public spaces.
It also states that if an accident did happen, it is highly unlikely that a member of the public would be sued, as long as care had been taken and common sense used to ensure the pavement or pathway was not more dangerous than before. It confirms that people using areas affected by snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful. The guidance also offers advice on how to clear snow and ice, such as spreading salt and not using hot water. APIL’s (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) past president John McQuater fielded many press enquiries on this subject when it became a hot topic earlier this year. APIL was even mentioned in The Times when Janice Turner called the press office and wrote “this is a snow myth as big as the yeti. If we clear the snow we must merely show reasonable responsibility.”
John Knight, Partner in Ringrose Law’s Personal Injury Department agrees entirely with the sensible advice given at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/D=
G_191868. Despite what people think the Law often adopts a common sense approach to matters such as this, and so long as people do not make an area more hazardous than before (by clearing the snow and ice) they will not be liable for any claim made against them.