ON APPEAL FROM SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY COURT
MR RECORDER DE FREITAS
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LADY JUSTICE HALLETT
LORD JUSTICE ELIAS
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Meyrick Estate Management
WordWave International Limited
A Merrill Communications Company
165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr Charles Woodhouse (instructed by Plexus Law) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.
Crown Copyright ©
Lady Justice Hallett:
"Suitable and sufficient handrails […] on all traffic routes which are staircases except in circumstances in which a handrail cannot be provided without obstructing the traffic route."
" A handrail should be provided on at least one side of every staircase and on both sides if there is a particular risk "
"A secure and substantial handrail is to be provided and maintained on at least one side of every staircase except at points where a handrail will obstruct access or egress…... "
"Every stair with two or more rises should have a continuous handrail to provide guidance and support to those using the stairs."
"In my view, the judge was wrong to refuse to have any regard to the Code, as an aid to construction. It was, as Mr Walker accepted, of no significance that the Code had not been pleaded or put to the respondent's witnesses. It is well established that official publications emanating from the relevant government department can be referred to in civil proceedings as an aid to construction: see the cases cited in Bennion on Statutory Interpretation 4th Edn at page 599. It seems to me that a Code of Practice which is designed to give practical guidance to employers as to how to comply with their duties under statutory regulations can be taken as providing some assistance as to the meaning it was intended those regulations should have. However, it is always necessary to treat such guidance with caution. It may be wrong. It does not carry the authority of a decision of the courts. Here, in construing the meaning of the regulation, the judge should have considered the meaning and purpose of the regulation, any relevant judicial authority and also the Code of Practice."
I respectfully agree with those observations.
Lord Justice Thomas:
Lord Justice Elias:
Order: Appeal dismissed