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lawNEWS

facturing plant without liability insurance for a year. Even if Mr Munro had asked to review the adequacy of all the cover, Justice Dalton is not convinced Mr Armstrong would have agreed or discussed it with his partner. The two owners were comfortable in assuming quite significant risk in their commercial enterprises, she says. If Hamcor and the two men had been named on Binary’s public liability policy it would not have covered land remediation. They had lost on this in a separate court case and been refused leave to appeal to the High Court. In her decision Justice Dalton rules the fire brigade has immunity under the Fire and Rescue Service Act and rejects Hamcor’s damages claim, which consists of $9 million to remediate the land, $442,000 legal costs for proceedings in the Planning and Environment Court, $1.33 million loss of rental income and $1.55 million for lost income. She notes there has not been a case in the High Court or an intermediate court in Australia that has decided on whether a fire brigade owes a duty of care in how it fights a fire. She agrees the brigade breached its duty to Hamcor and its two owners in applying large amounts of water to areas of land, although it was reasonable to spray it on areas where there were gas cylinders that could have exploded. But while the fire service knew the fire water posed an environmental hazard, Justice Dalton says there is a long history of immunities being given to fire brigades when laws establishing them are made. “The reason for these immunities may well be the devastatingly large consequences of errors made in fighting fires. “It may also be the fact that fighting fires is a task which in its nature may require brigades to destroy or damage * property, and act very quickly.”

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December 2014/January 2015

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DEC/JAN 2014/15 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The December/January edition of the insurance industry’s most-read print publication, Insurance News (the magazine), will be delivered to su...

DEC/JAN 2014/15 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The December/January edition of the insurance industry’s most-read print publication, Insurance News (the magazine), will be delivered to su...