A chip, a slip and causation in negligence – the law of probabilitiesAuthor : Charles Simon, Partner and Jacqueline Rennie, Solicitor

General Insurance

The NSW Court of Appeal decision of Woolworths Ltd v Strong [2010] NSWCA 282 had provided some welcome relief to occupiers and their insurers by raising the evidentiary burden imposed on plaintiffs to establish a causal connection between a defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injury.   On 7 March 2012, the High Court delivered its judgment in respect to Ms Strong’s appeal and has further clarified the steps the Court must take when considering causation under section 5D of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) (CLA).

The High Court’s decision reinstates the lower evidentiary threshold for plaintiffs to overcome the question of causation and is a timely reminder to insurers of commercial premises of the importance of ensuring that the defendant insured is in a position to prove the adequacy of its cleaning regime and adduce evidence of its adherence to that regime.

We examine the decision in the attached alert.

A chip, a slip and causation in negligence – the law of probabilities