The Chain of Responsibility (CoR) imposes 'secondary
liability' as a result of 'primary liability'. In terms
of speeding offences, the primary liability is that of the speeding
truck driver and the secondary liability is imposed on those
responsible for the acts of the driver.
This secondary liability is almost a strict liability, but
subject to the reasonable steps defence under the Heavy Vehicle
National Law (HVNL). The crucial question is: What is considered
In Dranmore Pty Ltd & Ors v Bimson (2014), various
companies in the Dranmore Group, as well as two directors, were
charged with 237 speeding offences.
Dranmore argued that the prosecutor had an obligation to
identify the reasonable steps that Dranmore should have taken,
relying on the legal principle that a person charged is entitled to
know all elements of the alleged offence, and that in CoR cases the
failure to take all reasonable steps is an element of the
Justice Campbell disagreed. He followed judgements in another
recent CoR case, which held that it was not the job of the
prosecutor to spell out what reasonable steps had not been
This makes sense. What is reasonable varies from case to case,
depending on all of the circumstances faced by each person charged
and the capacity they are charged with. It will depend on the
nature of the business and the resources at a defendant's
disposal as well as their degree of sophistication.
This means you need to audit and analyse your business –
ask yourself: 'What do we need to do to comply with our
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This decision will be significant to aviation industry participants in assessing whether claimants in the context of international or domestic carriage by air have commenced claims in an appropriate forum in Australia.
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