tree risk assessment

case law

This page contains court judgments and other documents relating to legal cases that either have considered the risks from falling trees or have a significant bearing on the way in which those risks might be considered.

Joanna Parker v The National Trust [2021] EWHC 1589 (QB)

This is a case heard in the High Court, which involved a large branch from a mature horse chestnut tree failing onto Mrs Parker, her family and friends at the National Trust property Lyme Park in Cheshire.

Bowen & Others v The National Trust

This is a case heard in the High Court, which involved a large branch from a mature beech tree failing, during windy weather, onto a party of children. One child died and three others suffered fractures and serious injuries.

This case is of particular interest for QTRA users because the Defendant’s tree expert, Dr David Lonsdale, carried out a retrospective risk assessment using the QTRA method, which is set out in his report (6). The Claimant’s tree expert witness, Julian Forbes-Laird, produced a supplementary report on QTRA (8) with the very particular purpose of criticising the QTRA method. In response, David Lonsdale, produced a supplementary report  (9) to address the issues raised by Julian Forbes-Laird.

9. Poll v Bartholomew - Letter to Arboricultural Association Newsletter (Issue 139)

This letter from Mike Ellison, David Evans and Glyn Thomas questions the use of QTRA method and its presentation in the second joint statement produced by tree expert witness Jeremy Barrell and arboricultural expert witness Dr Dealga O’Callaghan.  The letter also questions the application of the Matheny and Clark tree hazard evaluation method by the arboricultural expert witness Jeremy Barrell and arboricultural expert witness Dr Dealga O’Callaghan in which (using both QTRA and the Matheny & Clark methods) they present one of their outputs as ‘high risk’ when by their own measure, the risks that they had stated to be ‘high’ were  actually ‘medium’.

10. Poll v Bartholomew - Letter from Dr D. P. O'Callaghan to QTRA Forum (12.11.2007)

In response to a letter from Mike Ellison, David Evans and Glyn Thomas, published in Issue 139 of the Arboricultural Association’s Newsletter, arboricultural expert for the defendant in the case of Poll v Viscount Asquith of Morley (Bartholomew) posted this letter onto the QTRA User’s Discussion Forum and suggested that it be made available on the QTRA website. The letter was published in a significantly modified form in the Arboricultural Association Newsletter (Issue 140), where it was cited as being ‘a reproduction of the response’ posted on the QTRA Forum. In the latter version, it is stated that the letter ‘has been agreed with Jeremy Barrell’. Jeremy Barrell had acted as arboricultural expert for the claimant in the case of Poll v Viscount Asquith of Morley (Bartholomew).

11. Poll v Bartholomew - Letter to Arboricultural Association Newsletter (Issue 141)

In response to a letter from Mike Ellison, David Evans and Glyn Thomas, published in Issue 139 of the Arboricultural Association’s Newsletter, arboricultural expert for the defendant in the case of Poll v Viscount Asquith of Morley (Bartholomew) posted this letter onto the QTRA User’s Discussion Forum and suggested that it be made available on the QTRA website. The letter was published in a significantly modified form in the Arboricultural Association Newsletter (Issue 140), where it was cited as being ‘a reproduction of the response’ posted on the QTRA Forum. In the latter version, it is stated that the letter ‘has been agreed with Jeremy Barrell’. Jeremy Barrell had acted as arboricultural expert for the claimant in the case of Poll v Viscount Asquith of Morley (Bartholomew).

Jones v Kaney

The UK Supreme Court rules has ruled that expert witness immunity should be removed. Download the full judgement here and for a summary of the case and it’s implications for expert witnesses go to http://www.thelawyer.com/supreme-court-rules-that-expert-witness-immunity-should-be-removed/1007482.article.

Goode v Burnside

Goode v City of Burnside. [2007] SAERDC 5.Judgement in the case of Goode v Burnside where the Commissioner hearing the case made reference the application of QTRA by one of the experts. Comment on the consideration and application of QTRA in this case can be found in the paper ‘What is Tree Failure Risk Assessment?’ which was presented at the TreeNet Symposium 2007 and is reproduced.

Goode v Burnside Judgement - Comments by Mike Ellison on the Judgement

In a Judgement from the Land and Environment Court of South Australia, the Commissioner criticised the inferred precision of outputs from a Quantified Tree Risk Assessment. This criticism was acknowledged and the method was modified accordingly. The Commissioner made other comments that are arguably less valid and this short document discusses QTRA in relation to this particular case.

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