Monday, December 20, 2010

Can I be sued for clearing the pavement of snow?

Whenever it snows, I am always asked the question “can I be sued, if I clear the pavement in front of my house and someone slips over?”. Indeed, last winter I was told by a number of people that they refused to use the nearby grit bins to spread grit on dangerous sections of roads, since they feared being sued.

In an effort to clarify the situation, last winter I asked Birmingham City Council’s Legal department what the facts were. What they told me verbally is also supported by the Government own website – see

The response from our Legal department that they are not aware of anyone ever been sued for spreading salt or grit on a pavement or road. If a case was ever brought to court, a judge would ask the basic of whether the person who spread the salt or grit had acted reasonably and with care. Obviously, if someone plonks the grit down in a huge pile that is six inches high, that is not reasonable nor sensible, since it is clearly a trip hazard. If someone spreads the salt or grit sensibly, then the judge would be unlikely to say there is any case to answer.

This is supported by the Government website ( ) which says:

“There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully. Follow the snow code when clearing snow and ice safely.


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