Poll vs Bartholomew (2006)

This case involved a motorcyclist colliding with a fallen tree. The motorcyclist made a claim against the tree owners for damages. Judgement was awarded in favour of the claimant.

The tree was multi-stemmed, had included bark within its fork and also had a fungal bracket growing below it. An experienced arboriculturist would have identified the hazardous nature of the tree and ordered its removal. However, the inspection regime employed by the defendants – using a contractor to do ad hoc, and “drive by”, inspections - failed to identify it.

It was judged that the inspection regime in place was insufficient to detect structural defects and that a more detailed and systematic method of inspection should have been used.

This case is important as it suggests the level of competence and the level of inspection required to fulfill a tree owners duty of care.