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Title: A Case Study of Tort Liability for Fire Damage
Contributor(s): Eburn, Michael Ernest (author)
Publication Date: 2007
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Gardner v The Northern Territory is a rare exampleof a person suing fire authorities in negligencefor their failure to protect his property from bushfire. This article looks at the allegations that wereraised and why the Northern Territory Court ofAppeal found there was no negligence by theNorthern Territory or its fire fighting authorities.The conclusion is that Courts, when dealingwith the emergency services and the response tounpredictable phenomena such as fire, are willing totry and understand the realities that decision makersface and take into account the complex context inwhich those decisions must be made.“…this Court must be careful not to imposeunreasonable expectations and unreasonable dutieswhich are based more on hindsight and a lack ofappreciation of the practicalities and difficulties thatexist … than a realistic assessment of the care whicha reasonably prudent person would exercise in thesecircumstances”. (Gardner, 2004, [70])Gardner v The Northern Territory is a rare case indeedas it is an example of a person suing fire authoritiesin negligence for their failure to protect his propertyfrom bush fire. The decision in this case gives areassuring message for government authorities, fireservices, and fire fighters everywhere. The NorthernTerritory Supreme Court and then the NorthernTerritory Court of Appeal found that there had beenno negligence by the either the Conservation LandCorporation, the Parks and Wildlife Commission orthe Bush Fires Council. The High Court of Australiarefused to hear a further appeal (Gardner, 2005).
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 22(1), p. 44-48
Publisher: Emergency Management Australia
Place of Publication: Canberra
ISSN: 1324-1540
Field of Research (FOR): 180126 Tort Law
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Other Links:$file/AJEM_Feb07_CaseStudy.pdf
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