Paralysed tree surgeon loses claim against National Trust

Morden Hall Park - image:Garry Knight
Morden Hall Park - image:Garry Knight

A tree surgeon who was paralysed by a fall from a tree he was trying to dismantle has lost his claim for damages in the High Court against the National Trust.

Jamie Yates was working on a decayed ancient horse chestnut at the trust's Morden Hall Park in south London in December 2009.

It is believed a branch he was using as an anchor point for his safety rope snapped, causing him to fall 15m. He is now confined to a wheelchair.

Yates was self-employed and working for an independent contractor, had never dismantled a tree of such height before and did not have the relevant certificate for sectional felling, the court heard.

Dismissing the case, the Mr Justice Nichol said that even if the Trust owed Mr Yates a duty of care in deciding to hire the contractor, which it did not, it was not in breach of that duty as it was entitled to regard the contractor as reasonably safe and competent.

"The claimant is entitled to compensation from the NT if, and only if, the NT owed him a relevant duty of care. I have concluded that it did not."

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