Occupiers liability – Julia Creek revisited (again)

Julia Creek Town and Country Club Inc v Littlejohn [2012] QCA 16

I refer to my previous postings and yet again liability and the credibility of the plaintiff were agitated.

There were a number of appeal grounds, including the adequacy of the reasons for decision in respect of the credibility of the plaintiff. The Chief Justice speaking for the Court of Appeal accepted that the inconsistencies in the plaintiff’s claims as demonstrated in the covert video surveillance were adequately dealt with by the reduction in damages, but the “inconsistencies did not necessarily exclude an acceptance of her credibility”. This view was formed in part by the trial judge’s observation of the plaintiff.

Apropos the nature of the risk and the response to it, the Chief Justice concluded:

Ground 4: the presence of glare as the respondent negotiated the step down

[27] The appellant’s duty arose because of the unsafe nature of the floor. It was that hazard which reasonably required attention. Ordinary experience of life would suggest that sunlight might stream into the premises through an “undressed” window. That is not an extraordinary possibility, as the appellant appeared to suggest.

[28] The foreseeable risk was of a user stumbling over the step down in floor height. Addressing the glare, by closing curtains for example, was just one of four measures which His Honour found should have been adopted to deal with the risk constituted by that step down in the flooring.

Conclusion

[29] There is no substance to any of the grounds of challenge to the primary judgment.

[30] The appeal should be dismissed.

 Brisbane Barrister – David Cormack

 

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