Australia: Changes to Queensland’s Civil Liability and Personal Injury Regime

Last Updated: 19 May 2010
Article by Sarah Von Rurik

A number of amendments to Queensland's Civil Liability Act, Limitation of Actions Act, Law Reform Act, Personal Injuries Proceedings Act, Motor Accident and Insurance Act and other related acts will come into effect in July 2010, with the objective to improve the responsiveness of Queensland's civil liability and personal injury regime.

Also, on 29 April 2010, it was announced that there will be reforms introduced to Queensland's workers compensation scheme to address the growth in common law claims and claims costs, and help secure WorkCover's financial stability. Legislation required to implement this reform package is expected to be introduced into Parliament by mid 2010. The Queensland government has stated that the effectiveness of the reform package will be monitored closely over the next two years with a review of the reforms scheduled to occur at the end of 2012.

Key amendments include:

Civil Liability Act

Increasing general damages awards

This is the first increase in general damages awards since the Civil Liability Act was introduced almost eight years ago. The increase is by about 18%. The increased amounts will apply to personal injuries occurring on and after 1 July 2010. The amendments will also allow the amounts to be reviewed annually.

  • Allowing an injured claimant to claim compensation for the loss of their capacity to provide gratuitous domestic services to others.

This amendment will reinstate the common law entitlement to claim Sullivan v Gordon damages for the loss of a claimant's capacity to provide gratuitous domestic services to others where there is a genuine need for the provision of these services.

Limitation of Actions Act

  • Abolishing the statutory limitation period for dust-disease related personal injury claims, except for claims relating to the use of tobacco or tobacco-related products.

The abolishment of this limitation period will be retrospective and will apply to all claims irrespective of when the injury arose. It was considered in the interest of public policy to enable such claims to be made without the added hurdle of statutory limitation issues.

Law Reform Act

  • Allowing de-facto partners to claim for loss of consortium.

The previous reference to 'wife' has been changed to 'spouse' in order to ensure that a de-facto partner of an injured claimant can claim damages for loss of consortium. Damages for loss of consortium will be capped at $30,000 for an injury sustained prior to 30 June 2010 and $35,340 for an injury sustained on or after 1 July 2010.

Personal Injuries Proceedings Act & Regulations

  • Starting urgent court proceedings by agreement.

Parties will be able to agree to the early commencement of court proceedings, rather than requiring the claimant to obtain the leave of the court.

It is often the case that a claimant needs to commence court proceedings before the requirements of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act have been completed so that the court proceedings are commenced before the relevant limitation period expires. The Act states that court proceedings are stayed until the requirements of the Act have been completed.

  • Removal of the requirement to sign a certificate of readiness.

Parties will no longer be required to sign a certificate of readiness for trial before the compulsory conference. Parties will now be required to sign a certificate of readiness for compulsory conference only.

  • Increasing thresholds regarding costs.

The thresholds determining entitlement to costs will be increased. From 1 July 2010, a claimant will not be entitled to costs if the total damages are less than $35,340, and will only be entitled to capped costs of $2,950 if the total damages are between $35,340 and $58,900.

Proposed WorkCover reforms

  • No restrictions to common law claims.

The Queensland Government has ruled out placing restrictions on injured workers' access to common law claims for compensation.

  • Harmonisation with the Civil Liability Act.

It is proposed that common law WorkCover claims will be harmonised with arrangements under the Civil Liability Act in terms of liability (the required standard of care to be met), contributory negligence and caps on general damages and damages for economic loss.

General damages for pain and suffering which make up the smaller proportion of damages awards, and are relatively stable across different personal injury schemes will be capped at $300,000. Damages for economic loss (loss of future earnings) will be capped at three times Queensland Ordinary Time Earnings (QOTE) which is $176,607 per annum.

  • Increasing the onus of proof to prove the employer was at fault.

Many common law claims are commenced based on the perception that strict liability attaches to an employer if a work injury has occurred, regardless of fault. Amendments are proposed which will require workers to show that an employer breached a duty to take precautions against a risk of harm that was foreseeable, not insignificant, and in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have taken the precautions.

This aligns with the existing standard required by the Civil Liability Act.

  • Costs against plaintiffs whose cases are dismissed.

The provisions regarding costs that may be claimed where the court awards more or less than a party's final written offer of damages have been interpreted by the courts to mean that if the claim is dismissed, no costs are payable. Proposed amendments will allow the courts to award costs against a plaintiff whose claim is not successful.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.