Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 27 Mar 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that his car was damaged by a refuse bin. It is reasonable to expect Mr X to resort to court action and so the complaint is outside the Ombudsman’s legal remit.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, complains the Council’s refuse contractor will not compensate him for damage caused to his car by a refuse bin that was blown into it.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone could take the matter to court. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to go to court. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(c), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered what Mr X said in his complaint.
What I found
- Mr X says his car was damaged when a refuse bin was blown into it. Mr X says this happened because the Council’s contractor failed to secure the bin with its brakes.
- Mr X complains his claim for compensation has been ignored.
- Mr X has the right to take legal action against the Council for the compensation he seeks by making a money claim through the courts. As this right exists, the law says we should not investigate, unless we do not consider it is reasonable to expect Mr X to resort to court action.
- There is a simple, low cost procedure open to anyone to make a money claim through the courts. Or if Mr X seeks a larger compensation amount, he could consider using a ‘no win no fee’ solicitor.
- Ultimately, only the courts can decide if the Council is legally liable for the damage to Mr X’s car and if compensation should be paid.
- For these reasons, we consider it is reasonable to expect Mr X to resort to court action and we will not therefore investigate.
- We will not investigate as Mr X can resort to court action for the compensation he seeks. We consider it is reasonable to expect him to do this and so the complaint is outside our legal remit.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman