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Tip fire: representative proceedings May 23, 2018

TORTS – representative proceedings – negligence – plaintiff suffered injury through fire – determination of liability – no claim for pure economic loss – ignition of fire – origins – causation – spread or escape of fire – common law principles – existence and scope of duty of care – novelty of duty –salient features relevant to duty of care – reasonably foreseeability – knowledge of defendant significance of harm – relationship – vulnerability indeterminacy – breach – statutory conditions regarding breach of duty –s 5B Civil Liability Act 2002 – risk not insignificant – whether reasonable person would take precautions – probability of harm – likely seriousness of harm – burden of taking precautions – social utility – s 42 Civil Liability Act 2002 – statutory defence –general v specific allocation – specific resource allocation for waste management – no defence made out – whether precautions were reasonable – defendant should have adopted and implemented specific fire precautions – breach found – causation – whether precautions would have prevented the injury caused by fire spread – failure to prove factual causation – negligence not established by plaintiff – nuisance – proprietary rights over affected land – unreasonable interference – in absence of negligence defendant not liable in nuisance – claim by plaintiff dismissed – directions regarding common questions and costs

 

Weber v Greater Hume Shire Council [2018] NSWSC 667

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