A recent ruling in the Supreme Court of NSW has enforced the Civil Liability Act 2002 and declared that the risk of a cyclist’s wheel getting caught in the wooden planks of a bridge as an “obvious risk”. Details of the case can be read here. Interestingly, the court also admitted that the Council could rely upon their ignorance of the risk as the primary means of defence. The ruling was made in accordance with the legislation enacted by parliament, but at the same time Judges questioned the appropriateness of the legislation.
The Judges are most likely best placed to critique the suitability of specific clauses, but we must remember that the politicians only acted in response to a spiralling public liability crisis where awards of damages were becoming increasingly large and speculative. As with any new legislation it is often only with the passing of time and the rulings made in court that we begin to see the real impact. I am sure public liability insurers will be watching on with interest, underwriting pen at the ready….