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What is sufficient knowledge for the purpose of a road authority’s immunity from civil liability?

The NSW Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Nightingale v Blacktown City Council [2015] NSWCA 423 has provided increased certainty of the level of “actual knowledge” of a risk that must be established in order to defeat a section 45 defence.

The case has significant ramifications for plaintiffs seeking to sue road authorities. In order to succeed a plaintiff will need to establish that the relevant knowledge of any defect was within a road authority employee or agent with sufficient authority to carry out repair works. It will also be harder for plaintiffs to circumvent the operation of section 45 by pleading a failure to inspect adequately or at all as opposed to an allegation of failure to repair.

In this update, Paul Spezza (Partner) and Greg Carruthers-Smith (Special Counsel) discuss the decision and its implications for road authorities.

© Wotton + Kearney 2016
This publication is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this publication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.
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