Judge regrets Coal Board’s attitude

November 1950

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Wednesday 15 November 1950

Judge regrets Coal Board’s attitude

The attitude of the National Coal Board in a case at the West Riding Assizes Leeds yesterday, In which a miner claimed against them for personal injuries, was criticised by Mr. Justice Hallett.

The Judge gave judgment for the Board, with costs against John White (41), of Cliffe View, Denaby Main, near Rotherham, who sustained fractured hip and other injuries when working Manvers Main Colliery in August, 1948. Mr. White’s allegation negligence was denied by the N.C.B.

The Judge said he had offered to adjourn the hearing so that certain witnesses might be called, but the offer had not been accepted by counsel. Apparently in such cases the parties were not so much concerned at getting at the truth as in winning the action.

“I protest against that attitude in a case where the National Coal Board is concerned,” he added. “When the ownership of the collieries was in private hands there were the Interests of the shareholders to consider, and that was an attitude which could be understood, but I confess I am disappointed at such an attitude taken up by the N.C.B.

“The State has taken over this industry in the public interest, and the N.C.B. ought co-operate with the Court see that when there is serious accident the truth is ascertained Irrespective of whether the truth is damaging to the N.C.B. or the workman concerned.”

If he had found for White he would have assessed damages at £2,000 and special damages at £528, he said. A spokesman of the National Coal Board in London told The Yorkshire Post” last night: ‘‘The Judge’s comments have been referred to our legal advisers, and they can make no comment at present.”.