Fegan v Highland Regional Council

Case Report: 2007 SLT 651; [2007] CSIH 44 XA54/06
Scottish Courts Service decision

An Inner House decision, on appeal from Wick Sheriff Court.

The facts: The claimant fell from a cliff top in Thurso having been sitting on a bench provided by the defenders, Highland Regional Council, a few feet from the cliff top. She sued the Council for failing to fence it off.

Decision: The claimant’s case was rejected by the Inner House on appeal on the basis that there was no unusual or special danger requiring the local authority as occupier of the site to provide a fence.

The court held that the law in Scotland remained as stated historically in earlier Scottish cases, in particular Stevenson v Glasgow Corporation 1908 SC 1034 (see below, Part 4.2) and Glasgow Corporation v Taylor [1992] 1AC 44 (see under Part 4.2), to the general effect that an occupier of land containing naturally dangerous phenomena is not required to take precautions against persons becoming injured by reason of those dangers unless there were special risks such as unusual or unseen sources of danger. In this case the location of the seat did not amount to such a special risk.

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