The research establishes that the common law of negligence has been evolving toward the imposition of greater personal responsibility on plaintiffs in most circumstances, but especially in recreational activity cases. Further, the study reveals a substantial level of protection for public authority defendants at common law, challenging the assumptions that underpinned the significant statutory protections that were enacted in Australian jurisdictions from 2002 onwards. The data analysis therefore corroborates previous work of Australian tort law scholars and contradicts the claims made by policymakers at the start of the 21st century about the urgent need for tort law reform. Given that there has not been an empirical study of 21st century High Court negligence decisions to date, the study provides a foundation for future assessment of the effect of Australian tort law reform legislation.
13 December 2014
'High Court Negligence Cases 2000–10' by Pam Stewart and Anita Stuhmcke in (2014) 36(4) Sydney Law Review reports a study of High Court negligence decisions from 2000 to 2010.