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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
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