West Law Report

OGDEN v BARBER & ANR; CHADWICK v BARBER & ANR

Posted in Westlaw Reports by mrkooenglish on July 2, 2008

Last Updated: 5:29PM BST 02/07/2008
Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Sir Anthony Clarke MR, Rix LJ, Sir Robin Auld June 23, 2008
Apportionment – Motorcycles – Road traffic accidents – Apportionment of responsibility for accident

FACTS

The appellant (H) appealed against the apportionment of liability between he and the respondent (B). B had been involved in a motorcycle collision with another rider. It was B’s case that he had tried to overtake H but was prevented from doing so because H accelerated in response and he had to fall back behind him. He later tried to overtake again on a straight stretch of road between two hills but H again accelerated to prevent him from overtaking. As a result of H accelerating B ran out of road space and tried to drop speed to fall behind H. H prevented him from doing so by decelerating. As a result B was caught on the wrong side of the road as he came over a hill and was involved in the collision. B’s friend (O), who had been following B, was unable to stop and was also involved in the collision. H gave evidence that he was oblivious to the accident and had been in front of B’s bike when it happened. O told police that he had hoped that B would not overtake on the second occasion as they were too near the brow of the hill. However at trial O changed his evidence to match that of B. The judge concluded that both H and B were responsible for the injuries caused to the motorcyclist and to O. He apportioned liability at 80 per cent for H and 20 per cent for B. H contended that the judge gave inadequate reasons for his findings on apportionment.

ISSUE

Whether on the evidence the judge was entitled to reach a decision apportioning liability between H and B who had caused a collision with a motor cyclist.

HELD (appeal dismissed)

The findings of fact in relation to the circumstances of the accident had not been challenged. It was not surprising that once the judge rejected H’s evidence, he accepted B’s evidence. The judge was entitled to rule that the greater share of the accident was due to H deliberately attempting to keep B on the wrong side of the road. The judge was entitled to find the precise level of apportionment in accordance with his own judgment and there was no reason to fault his final assessment.

Richard Hartley QC (instructed by DWF LLP, Manchester) for the appellant. Marc Willems (instructed by Halliwells LLP) for the respondent.

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