Richard Lissack QC and Nicholas Hill successfully defend international property management company
Richard Lissack QC and Nicholas Hill successfully defend an international property management company (with over 1,100 sites in the UK) against a prosecution brought by the London Borough of Havering. The case, listed across two weeks at Snaresbrook Crown Court, concluded after two days following cross-examination of the Prosecution’s expert Consultant Engineer, the Prosecution accepting that they no longer had a realistic prospect of securing a conviction.
The case was based on an alleged breach of s4 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following serious injury to a 12 year old boy resulting from his deliberate misuse of a flying escalator installation.
The Defence case was founded on three principal arguments: (i) that the prosecution was misconceived because no duty arises under s4 HSWA in cases of deliberate misuse where, on the facts of the case, no liability would arise in civil law; (ii) no duty arose where the misuse (which led to the risk) was unknown and unexpected – the risk was unforeseeable and unforeseen; and (iii) that the Company had, in any event, taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the risk arising.
The case raised important and novel points of law in an area with limited authority (the leading case on s4 is Austin Rover Group v HM Inspector of Factories  1 AC 619). The points were not argued or decided as a result of the factual position reached following cross-examination of the Prosecution expert.
Richard and Nick were instructed by TLT Solicitors.
Barristers: Nicholas Hill