Areas of Law / Public Law

The council instructs householders to put their bins on the pavement for emptying. Who is liable if a pedestrian is injured by bumping into a bin, or a car is damaged by hitting a bin which has been blown, or thrown, into the road? Is the legal position different before emptying (when the householder put it there) and after (when a council employee put it there)?

There’s no simple answer: liability will always depend on the individual circumstances. Householders have a duty to put their bin in a safe place, and the binmen have a similar responsibility when they’ve emptied it. Obviously what is “safe” in one road will not necessarily be safe in another. If you think it’s dangerous to leave your bin as instructed by the council you should write and tell them so.

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