Latest Keoghs Insight

Fourteenth Edition of the Judicial College’s Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Client Alerts||15/09/2017

Personal Injury Discount Rate

Client Alerts||08/09/2017

Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 to come into force in October 2017

Client Alerts||23/08/2017

Costs budget exaggeration is misconduct

Client Alerts||17/08/2017

Blackmore v Department for Communities and Local Government 2017 EWCA Civ 1136

Client Alerts||04/08/2017

Lord Justice Jackson's review into Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC)

Client Alerts||01/08/2017

Sentencing guidelines: Reduction in sentence for a guilty plea – update

Client Alerts||27/07/2017

Grant v Secretary of State for Transport: Guidance on Mesothelioma quantum

Client Alerts||06/07/2017

Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

News And Events||20/10/2017

Keoghs IT team recognised in prestigious awards

News And Events||19/10/2017

Disputed causation leaves claimants paying the price

News And Events||17/10/2017

Keoghs announce 20 promotions and four new appointments

News And Events||31/08/2017

Ex-wife’s tip-off uncovers case of stolen identity leading to award of exemplary damages

News And Events||02/08/2017

Keoghs research warns of large rise in opportunistic insurance fraud

News And Events||17/07/2017

Keoghs launches 2017 apprenticeship programme

News And Events||09/06/2017

Scotland team expands at Keoghs one month after Glasgow office unveiled

News And Events||01/06/2017

Keoghs Launches Online Ogden Multiplier Calculator


A new way of life? Magill v Panel Systems (DB Limited)


Driver disqualification and the case for exceptional hardship


Health and Safety Executive FFI invoices – new panel, same challenges


The Future of Motor Fraud - the end of the road for cash for crash?


Cyclist conviction lays bare antiquated legislation


Keoghs enforcements team celebrates landmark year with some dramatic case highlights


Recent figures illustrate real impact of health and safety sentencing guidelines


Credit Hire Aware 12


Costs Aware Issue 3


Property Aware 5


Credit Hire Aware 11


Fraud Aware 5


Costs Aware 2


Disease Aware 8


Credit Hire Aware 10


Keoghs Insight

We keep you up-to-date on emerging market issues and their impact on the insurance sector, through a variety of publications, events and our leading market initiatives.


Matthew Burfield

Dodd v Raebarn Estates Ltd

Client Alerts||23/06/2017

‘Although I have profound sympathy for Mrs Dodd and her tragic loss, in my judgment Raebarn is not the culprit.  I would dismiss the appeal’.

The closing remarks of Lord Justice Lewison in the unanimous decision with McFarlane LJ and McCombe LJ in the case of Dodd v Raebarn Estates (‘Raebarn’) bring an end (we can hope) to this sad case successfully defended by the team at Keoghs’ Southampton office.


On 25 December 2007, Mr Dodd was on honeymoon with his new wife.  He was descending stairs at a property in Kensington Park Road, London when he lost his footing, fell down the remaining stairs and banged his head.  He died two years later on 20 December 2009.

Raebarn is a commercial landlord.  Raebarn bought a period property in London intending to develop the ground floor and basement for retail premises.  They granted a lease of the first floor, second floor and the ground floor access to a developer of residential flats.

The developer applied for planning permission for works which included the replacement of the staircase which included a handrail. Raebarn gave its consent and planning consent was granted on that basis.

The construction of the new staircase was not to plan in that the risers and treads were incorrect. This breached Building Regulations at the time and breached the basis on which planning consent was given.  

At the time of the deceased’s accident, there was no handrail, and there was no direct evidence that a handrail had ever been installed.  
Once developed, the developer assigned the lease to the management company set up by the tenants of the flats.

The Appeal

By the time the case came before the Court of Appeal, the appellant had abandoned most of their claim. The appeal proceeded on section 4(4) Defective Premises Act 1972 alone, on the basis that the freeholder had failed to exercise its right to enter under the lease and to effect ‘maintenance or repair of the premises’.  

Points to consider

Ignoring the findings which are fact sensitive, the points of general application are:

  1. Lewison LJ’s comment at paragraph 28 (commenting on Lawton LJ’s observation in Quick v Taff-Ely at 821G) ‘that I do not consider that … whenever part of a building is replaced by an inferior product the building is for that reason alone out of repair, even though in a very general sense it may be said to be “worse”‘.
  2. The previous point was reached while considering whether a breach of Building Regulations and planning consent equate to a relevant defect (they do not).
  3. The possibility of summary judgment should be kept under review, even in cases which are relatively complex on the facts and even where the parties have completed disclosure, and the exchange of lay and expert evidence.
  4. The fact that evidence may be revealed under cross examination is irrelevant to whether an application for summary judgment should be allowed.

In passing, Lewison LJ does cast some doubt (paragraphs 39 and 40) on whether, in determining when disrepair triggers liability under the DPA, the test applied by Judge Thornton in Hannon v Hillingdon Homes Ltd [2012] EWHC 1437 (QB) was correct.


The Court of Appeal dismissed the claimant’s appeal. This case provides a reminder for defendants that they can make successful applications for summary judgment even in claims for serious injury.