Former schoolgirl unsuccessfully sues council after injuring her foot

09:53 17 November 2012

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A woman who sued Bromley Council after injuring her foot as a schoolgirl in Beckenham almost six years ago has failed to win damages.

Emma Richards, who was injured when a “door closed into contact with the back of her left heel”, deserved sympathy but not money after requiring five stitches, a judge said.

The Court of Appeal heard that Mrs Richards claimed damages for personal injury after the incident at Langley Park School for Girls when she was 15 in February 2007.

A county court judge had rejected Miss Richards’ claim earlier this year and three appeal judges yesterday dismissed her attempt to overturn that decision.

Lord Justice Tomlinson, who sat with Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Munby, said Miss Richards had suffered a “nasty laceration”.

“The injury required the insertion of five stitches at the local hospital,” said Lord Justice Tomlinson.

“She has my sympathy. Sympathy however is an insufficient basis on which to subvert the law of tort.”

He added: “It needs to be understood that not every misfortune occurring on school premises attracts compensation.”

Judges were told that another pupil at the school had suffered a “trivial injury” to her heel when the door hit her foot in October 2006.

The school’s site manager - “or more prosaically the caretaker” - had “generated a risk assessment form” and reported the step outside the door as a “hazard” following the 2006 incident, said Lord Justice Tomlinson.

He had recommended the raising of the step and work had been scheduled for Easter 2007, the judge added.

Lawyers representing Miss Richards argued that “steps could and should have been taken” following the 2006 incident to “prevent a recurrence”.

But Lord Justice Tomlinson said the arguments were “wholly unrealistic and unconvincing”.

“The trivial nature of the earlier incident and the risk which it brought to light, seen in the context of 30 years safe use of the doors by thousands of children and staff, rendered reasonable both the nature of the remedial action which the school authorities proposed to take and the timescale within which they proposed to do it,” he added.

“I would dismiss this appeal.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Crime news

Friday, November 27, 2015
The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

A 16-year-old who bit a woman’s groin on Hampstead Heath, hit a man with a claw hammer and carried out violent and sexual assaults will serve just one year in jail.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: British Transport Police)

A large gang of young men surrounded a 17-year-old girl in West Ham Tube station and threw her to the floor in a frightening incident, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to after a woman was raped in Brixton last year (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A young woman said she was raped after accepting a lift on leaving a Brixton club last year and today police have released images of men they would like to speak to about the attack.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
A child can be seen being manhandled by a person who appears to be a Subway worker in the video posted online (Picture: YouTube/Kyss McQueen)

Alarming footage of boys trying to smash their way into a north London Subway branch to release their friend - who appears to be locked inside and forcibly held by a Subway worker - has gone viral on social media.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Vasilaki Kakko, a teenage boy who was stabbed to death in Holloway

A boy stabbed near Caledonian Road Tube station in Holloway, north London, has been named by police as Vasilaki Kakko.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News