The Queensland Court of Appeal has recently refused the appeal
of Ms Noela Anderson to challenge the findings of the Magistrates
and District Court of Queensland that found no breach of duty by a
local Council in failing to ensure that a service pit cover was
flush with the surrounding ground after the plaintiff sustained
personal injury arising from a trip and fall in October 2000.
The plaintiff tripped and fell on the lid of a service pit,
located adjacent to a concrete path. The lid of the pit was raised
approximately 2.5cm above the ground. The accident occurred in
daylight with nothing obscuring the protrusion. It was plain for
her to see. She had personal knowledge of the area.
At first instance and on appeal to the District Court
Although it was accepted that the sole cause of Ms
Anderson's fall was the exposed lid; there was no duty to
protect her from the minor and obvious risk it posed to
pedestrians. Even if a duty existed the plaintiff was unable to
convince either Court that the duty had been breached.
The Court of Appeal
The Council had a reasonable inspection regime. The plaintiff
was unable to show that local authorities should be required to
find and fix every example of unevenness in every footpath within a
rigorous timeframe. To insist on this kind of system would not be
reasonable either in terms of the cost to ratepayers or the
authorities' priorities for the expenditure of public
It is well established by the decision of the High Court that a
local authority is not duty bound to eradicate mundane risks which
persons exercising ordinary care can be expected to observe and
avoid – see Brodie v Singleton SC (2001) 206 CLR
Although the Civil Liability Act 2003 had no
application in this instance we do not believe the result would
have been different in such circumstances.
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 Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This was an interlocutory decision about the appointment of a tutor for the child appellant, to carry on his proceedings.
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”
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).