Can I make a personal injury claim against my Local Council?

Have you ever had a personal injury claim against your local authority and not done anything about it as you did not know if you could? Hopefully this blog will try and dispel some of the common myths surrounding these sorts of claims.

To start with the basics for any personal injury claim, the following must be proved to be successful: a duty of care, a breach of that duty of care and that the breach is a negligent one. For a claim against your local council, you must also show that they have breached their duties under the Highways Act 1980.

It has been established by the Courts that the highway is a defined route over which ‘the public at large can pass and repass as frequently as they wish, without hindrance and without charge’. Therefore, as you can see from this definition, most pavements and roads will be classed as a highway. If you can establish that the road is indeed a highway, section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 then imposes a duty on the Local Authority to maintain a highway at the public expense, unless they can prove that someone else is responsible. It is possible for a highway to be no-one’s responsibility.

It is important to remember that the duty to maintain is restricted to a duty to repair and keep in repair. The Local Authority are not under a duty to improve the highway. However the duty under section 41 is an absolute duty to maintain, and is not guided by what is reasonable.

However, it is based upon what a reasonable man would think and the duty also depends upon the level of use the road has. Therefore, the duty will be higher for a main road, as opposed to a rarely used footpath.

If you are able to establish that there has been a breach of section 41 (i.e. a failure to repair a defect on the pavement), your local council will then be responsible for any reasonably foreseeable injuries caused, subject to a defence contained in section 58 of the Highways Act 1980. This defence states that your local council will be able to successfully defend a personal injury claim where ‘the authority had taken care as in all the circumstances was reasonably required to secure that the part of the highway to which the action relates was not dangerous for traffic’.

Therefore, as long as your local council can show that they did everything reasonable to ensure your safety, it is highly likely that they will be able to defend your claim.

What does all of this mean in practice? Each local council will have their own policy in place in relation to defects. A road will be classified and each classification will determine how often a road is inspected. For example, a main road with lots of people travelling on it may be inspected monthly. However, a footpath may only be inspected every 6 months.

Previous cases have usually ruled in the council’s favour by deciding that anything more than monthly would be onerous and expensive.

As well as the inspection system in place, local councils also need to react to reports of other accidents or near misses. If someone else reports an accident on the same defect, it means that the council had notice of it before your own accident and this will strengthen your case if they failed to respond to an earlier report.

The council’s guidance will also stipulate what they deem to be an ‘actionable defect’. For example, a pothole would need to be 3 inches deep before they consider it serious enough for repair. For a defect which is less than 3 inches deep, it would be extremely difficult to win a claim on the basis that it was not an actionable defect.

It must be stressed that your local council’s duty is only a reasonable one and they cannot be expected to repair every single defect. One of the reasons Courts give for this is because it is public money involved.

If you do have an accident as a result of a defect, a number of things will strengthen your claim:

1. Photographs of the defect at the time of your accident, including measurements using a tape measurer;

2. Details of any witnesses on the street who are able to confirm how long the defect has been present for;

3. Monitoring of the defect to see if the local council repair it in line with their own policy; and

4. Google Maps can be helpful as it may show a defect in situ at a much earlier point than your accident.

All personal injury claims are subject to a 3 year limitation deadline. If a claim is not settled or issued at Court by the third year deadline, you would then be barred by statute from bringing that claim. Therefore, you should act swiftly if you think that you have a personal injury claim.

JNP Legal are local legal experts who specialise in personal injury claims. Where we view the chance of success to be sufficient, we may then offer a No Win No Fee Agreement.

However, we would ordinarily need to see photographs before we can assess your chance of winning.

We have offices based at Merthyr, Nelson and Llanishen and our offices are open Monday to Friday 9 AM – 5 PM and our Merthyr Tydfil office is open 9 AM – 12 noon every Saturday morning.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil), 01443 450561 (Nelson) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff) or contact us via e-mail on


Live for today, Plan for tomorrow

The topic of wills and future planning is never easy to think about, and is quite often at the bottom of peoples ‘to do’ list. It really doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Actually, it should be the opposite. Writing a will gives you the chance to do something today, that no doubt your future self will thank you for.

A will gives you choice. A will gives you the freedom to ensure your wishes are carried out just as you want them to be, and by whom you want them to be. A will allows you to make the decisions about your assets that best suits your family and personal circumstances, and not leave it to the law
The 10th -16th September 2018 is ‘Remember a Charity in your will’ week.
“Three quarters of Britons regularly give to charity in their lifetimes, yet only 6% currently include a charity when writing a Will”.

It is quite incredible how much Charities rely upon legacy’s to run on a daily basis.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Ty Hafan, as a solicitor involved in their ‘Write a will’ campaign that runs in March every year.

I was greeted with the warmest of welcomes by all the staff at the Hospice, and it was truly inspiring to actually see how Ty Hafan helps so many people, in so many ways.

The hospice itself is beautiful. It immediately makes you feel at home. It has a warm and friendly atmosphere that is packed full of life. We were given a tour of the hospice, and shown some of the life changing technology they have there that is tailored to each individual that passes through their doors. Ty Hafan really is a hidden gem!

12% of Ty Hafan’s income is generated through legacies left in wills. This really makes a massive difference to their future planning and their ability to continue to help families in so many different ways. In reality, no one wants to find themselves in the position where they need such a resource, but it happens. Ty Hafan offers essential services to so many families in Wales, and from what I saw, the families really are the heart and soul of the hospice.
Just think about it.

You could be part of making a difference, by simply remembering a charity in your will.

If you would like further information on writing a will please contact our Loran Beynon on 01443 450561 or Evelyn James 02920 76 3211, or email We offer completive fixed fee packages.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.

If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on


The Dangerous Side of Social Media; Think Before You Post!

Social networking has shot up in the past decade with people taking to social media to connect with one another, engage with news, share information and entertain themselves. There are various social media platforms and people are choosing to contact each other on those platforms using messages, photos and videos more frequently.

The benefits of the internet and social media are vast but there is also a dangerous side and we are seeing that more and more in the legal profession.
Social media posts that may have been posted in the heat of the moment when emotions were running high have been brought into court proceedings to be used as evidence of behaviour, relationships and events, and this ‘evidence’ has been judged in court. This is now commonplace and can have damaging consequences, sometimes affecting the outcome of a case.

It is extremely important to take a minute to think before posting, and to avoid getting into arguments over social media. Not only could it potentially damage any court case that you may have going on, or any future case for that matter, but if your children use social media remember that they may see negative posts and this could cause additional upset.

It is not enough to rely on privacy settings; if you do not want the public to see your post then do not post it! No matter how much you lock your account down, or how careful you think you are with your friends, the reality is that if you post it, it will be seen!

If you’ve got an issue and need someone to talk to, and some advice, do not post it on social media, contact us to arrange an appointment so that you can get some proper legal advice!

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on


Grandparents : Seeking Contact with your Grandchildren

In recent weeks, viewers of Coronation Street have been following the story line of Eva handing her new born baby, Susie, over to her step-sister Toyah. The plan failed after a lot of guilt for all people concerned and upon the discovery of the biological father’s death.

On hearing the news that he, Johny Conner, was the paternal grandfather of Susie he announced he intended to fight for custody of his late son’s baby daughter.

He sought advice from a solicitor and applied for a Child Arrangements Order. Eva was distraught at the possibility of giving up her daughter for a second time.

Child Arrangements Orders are Court Orders regulating who a child or children live with or spend time with following e.g. parental separation or in this case, where Johny believed that Eva is not fit to have care of a child which she has previously tried to give away.

Unlike parents, grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply for a Child Arrangements Order although there are exceptions to that rule.

It is generally considered to be in the best interests of a child to have a relationship with other family members as well as their parents/carers. On that basis, the vast majority of grandparents would succeed in securing leave to make an application. It is then for the court to determine the application for a Child Arrangements Order.

If you need legal advice or representation in respect of a family matter and want to know whether or not you are eligible for legal aid please contact our family department.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil, Nelson and Llanishen offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care.

If you need assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this blog please call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: and we will do our very best to provide you with the legal assistance you require.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on

Vicarious Liability: when is an employer accountable for the actions of their employees?

Firstly, what is Vicarious Liability?
An employer can be liable for the acts and/or omissions of its ‘Employees’ provided these took place during the course of employment.

Recent Developments
A recent Court of Appeal ruling has dealt with the law relating to vicarious liability and a company’s use of contractors.

The case in question, Barclays Bank PLC v Various Claimants, related to an appeal by Barclays Bank on its liability for sexual assaults that were said to have been committed by a doctor it has contracted to complete medical examinations of its staff. The bank specified the nature, time, place and the examiner and there was therefore some degree of control and knowledge.

Following the death of the doctor the police found evidence of sexual assaults during the examinations.

Various members of staff sought damages from the bank on the basis that they were vicariously liable for the assaults on the basis that the doctor’s work for them was akin to employment. The bank argued that the doctor was self employed as an independent contractor and as such they were not liable for his actions.

The High Court had previously agreed with the Claimants that the bank was vicariously liable and the Court of Appeal upheld that decision. The Court of Appeal discussed the changing nature of work which required a more flexible approach to vicarious liability. Given that the doctor had died and his estate had already been distributed the bank was the only viable entity able to provide compensation which will have, no doubt, had some bearing on the Court’s decision.

Important points for employers
As well as the above case, there have been other recent examples of the Court taking a more flexible approach to find vicarious liability if it considers it fair and just to do so. It is important that all persons working for a company, even those not classically considered ‘employees’ are aware of their obligations.

JNP Legal offer a wide range of legal services. We have offices in Merthyr Tydfil, Nelson and Llanishen. Our offices are open Monday- Friday 9am-5pm with our Merthyr Tydfil office also open between 9am – 12pm on a Saturday for your convenience.

Our qualified solicitors would be more than happy to assist with any legal queries you have.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on



A LAW firm based in Merthyr Tydfil has raised over £4,000 for charity this year after taking part in a will-writing campaign which asks solicitors to write wills for local people and instead, ask only for a voluntary donation.

JNP Legal, which has branches in Nelson and Llanishen, have taken part in the annual Will Aid scheme and raised an impressive £4,420 in the month-long fundraiser. This is the second time they have taken part in Will Aid and they were the highest fundraising firm in Mid Glamorgan for 2017. Since they started taking part they have raised £31,483.

Loran Beynon, from the firm commented: “Our team has thoroughly enjoyed participating in Will Aid and we have worked very hard to promote the campaign.

“We like having the opportunity to help more than one charity during the same campaign. The scheme provides a strong incentive for people to make wills.

“We are happy to donate our time towards Will Aid. It is a worthy cause and worth supporting. There are benefits for the firm in encouraging will making and other new business. We would recommend that other law firms get involved.”

Paul Morgan from the British Red Cross paid the firm a visit to present them with a certificate.

He said: “We are very grateful to JNP Legal and the Will Aid scheme for this generous contribution.

“The Red Cross uses donations to reach people in crisis, here in the UK and all around the world.

“£300 could feed ten families in Syria for a month. £80 could help train four people in life-saving first aid skills here in the UK. And with £1,000 our UK volunteers could give five people the support they need to readjust to life at home following a spell in hospital.”

Lawyers wrote dozens of wills during the month of November, generously giving their time for free for the whole month.

Will Aid, which is celebrating its 30th year since launching, is a charity will-writing scheme that raises money for nine wonderful charities: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save The Children, Sightsavers, Age UK, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid said: “Will Aid has made an amazing contribution to the work of the nine participating charities and last year was no exception. Thanks to the commitment of local solicitors that took part in this year’s Will Aid, many people both in the UK and abroad will receive life-changing support and local people who used the scheme have the peace of mind thanks to having a professionally drawn up will.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to JNP Legal and let them know that thanks to them, lives will change for the better and people who need it will continue to receive the help and support that the charities work so hard to provide.

“Solicitors raised an incredible amount of money in 2017, but sadly there is always much more demand for Will Aid than we can meet. You have the chance to help us celebrate 30 years since the launch of Will Aid by signing up and donating your time in 2018. Being part of Will Aid will raise the profile of your firm in your local community and bring new clients to your door, all whilst supporting nine wonderful UK charities.

Will Aid will run again in November 2018. Find out more by visiting


For more information, photographs, quotes or localised statistics please contact the Will Aid press team on or call 01473 276127

Notes for Editors
• November is Will Aid’s annual UK-wide fundraising campaign involving nine of the UK’s leading charities that share the proceeds: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N. Ireland).
• Will Aid has been running since 1988 and has run every November since 2008. It is the most successful charity Will-writing scheme in the UK, open to all adults. The campaign has encouraged over 300,000 people to write their will with a qualified, regulated and insured solicitor and in so doing has raised over £20 million in donations. The suggested voluntary donation is £95 for a single will and £150 for a pair of mirror wills.
• For more information on the Will Aid research or a digital version of this press release, visit


Injury Prevention Day 2018

As you may be aware from previous posts, JNP Legal is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), a national not-for-profit membership group representing injured people.

As part of the campaigns supported by APIL, the third Wednesday in August each year is focussed on Injury Prevention Day, when APIL asks people to consider what they can do to help prevent harm. This year Injury Prevention Day is Wednesday 15th August 2018.

APIL’s focus this year is on avoiding needless injuries by asking occupants of vehicles to ensure vehicle head restraints are properly adjusted. Head restraints that are properly adjusted may help to prevent occupants who are involved in low speed collisions from suffering neck and back injuries as a result.

APIL have created an illustration explaining how a car headrest should be positioned, which can be accessed at They have asked that everyone complete the #headresttest to ensure that headrests are properly positioned. By ensuring that headrests are in the correct position, car users can help to protect themselves from injury.

Further information in relation to APIL’s campaign activity is also available on their website

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. If you require our assistance with any legal matter please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on