The High Court held that the plaintiff was not required to prove her fall was the sole cause of her psychiatric disorder, only that the fall was a cause. The High Court reiterated a long-established legal principle that defendants must take their victims as they find them, even if there is an apparent disproportion between cause and effect. In cases where there are multiple causes the evidentiary onus rests with the tortfeasor to disentangle those multiple causes.
The plaintiff’s claim in the Supreme Court was the first of its type to be brought against the Commonwealth. The plaintiff sued the Commonwealth in negligence for psychiatric injury sustained by him as a result of his immigration detention in South Australia and New South Wales.
In this case the High Court of Australia found that a roads authority did not owe a duty to young persons using a bridge to prevent them from jumping and being injured by the shallow water below. The High Court held that a duty of care imposes an obligation to exercise reasonable care, not a duty to prevent potentially harmful conduct. A prospective test is to be applied when determining what the exercise of reasonable care required in response to a foreseeable risk of injury.
A family of four brought proceedings against the Commonwealth of Australia for negligence and false imprisonment resulting in psychiatric injury due to their immigration detention in Papua New Guinea and in the Republic of Nauru by the Commonwealth. These claims were the first of their type brought against the Commonwealth by immigration detainees detained in detention centres located outside of Australia.
In this High Court of Australia case the plaintiff suffered severe injuries when he fell from a moving train which was operated by the defendant. The trial judge found that the plaintiff had fallen from the doors of the train as a consequence of the defendant’s negligence. The NSW Court of Appeal reversed this finding based on the possibility of other hypothetical occurrences. The High Court held that the Court of Appeal was not entitled to reject the findings of the trial judge based on these other possibilities.