Children crossing the road - a duty of care?

Posted by Malcolm Johnson on

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The parents of a child who died after being hit by a vehicle whilst crossing the road are taking legal action against the school. An inquest found that death was "accidental" but heard allegations that the boy should have been supervised by an adult whilst crossing the road. Apparently the school has accepted that it was at fault.

In the case of Carmarthenshire County Council v Lewis [1955] AC 549 the claimant was the widow of the driver of a car who had collided with a tree and died, having swerved to avoid colliding with a very young child. The child had been able to leave his nursery school unattended because a teacher had left him alone while she attended to another child.

The Court of Appeal held that she had been negligent. The House of Lords decided that the teacher was not in fact negligent, but found that the local authority had been negligent in failing properly to secure the gates of the nursery school. It was said that the teacher was in loco parentis and thus owed the same duty as a parent.

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Malcolm is an Senior Associate in our London office, with nearly twenty years' experience.

Malcolm Johnson
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