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Infant Pedestrians: Can You Blame the Parents? - Edward Cleary, DWF

14/03/19. Ellis v Kelly & Anor, High Court (QB), 31 July 2018 - The court declined to make a finding of contributory negligence against an 8 year old boy involved in a road traffic accident and dismissed the contribution claim against his mother. The claimant's momentary misjudgement had to be balanced against the reckless conduct of the defendant, and it would be undesirable to routinely attempt to regulate decisions and actions arising in the course of normal daily parenting. Edward Cleary reviews the judgment in the High Court case of Ellis v Kelly (2018).


The accident occurred on 20 September 2008 near to a zebra crossing on Gospel Lane in Birmingham, which was a quiet road with a children's playground on one side and a skateboard park on the other.

The claimant was 8 years and 8 months old. For that summer or perhaps a little before, he had been allowed to go out without adult supervision, but only if accompanied by his older cousins. His mother had told him to be careful, watch the road and stay with the others.

The accident occurred when the claimant had left the playground to find one of his cousins. He was seen to cross the road at the zebra crossing and then turn left towards the skateboard park. It was inferred that the claimant did not find his cousin at the skateboard park or the nearby shop and decided that he should return to the playground.

The claimant was struck by the defendant's car as he crossed the road and sustained a severe brain injury. Primary liability for the accident was admitted by the defendant's insurer and the defendant was not called to give evidence at trial.


Mrs Justice Yip made the following findings of fact in respect of the accident circumstances...

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