No5 Chambers

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No5’s Williams successfully represents Dover Roman Painted House Trust in damages case

Philip Williams from No5 Chambers, instructed by Jacqui Kendall at Plexus Law, has represented the Dover Roman Painted House Trust in a damages case. Lisa Driver, who fell over a wall at the Roman Painted House in Dover in July 2007, lost her bid to claim damages.

The mother of two was looking for somewhere to urinate after an evening drinking, when she fell and suffered skull fractures that left her with epilepsy.

Although Driver said she had no memory of the fall, her friend Elaine Bristow said they were not drunk. While waiting for a taxi, they had gone into the Roman site after being told they could not use the taxi offices’ toilet facilities.

Williams, counsel for the Dover Roman Painted House Trust, said Driver and Bristow had been drinking for six-and-a-half hours.

The Dover Roman Painted House Trust and Dover District Council denied liability, saying Driver was ‘the author of her own misfortune’. The court heard that since the wall was built around 40 years ago, around 600,000 people have visited the site and there have been no other accidents.

At the High Court in London, Judge John Leighton Williams said that Driver was a trespasser in law and rejected that the site was dangerous. He said: ‘I am not satisfied she has an accurate memory of the detail of what happened that night… Maybe because she wasn’t asked until two years after the event, but I suspect that drink, too, played a part.’

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