Saturday, September 15, 2007

Basin landmark

Rotto Bloggo discovered this week that the beautiful island played a role in a significant precedent-setting legal decision.

This is a bit from Law of the Surf, from a 2003 edition of the Australian Law Journal:

“A significant case especially in relation to surf related liability is that of Nagle v Rottnest Island Authority where the High Court held that the Rottnest Island Authority was liable for injury sustained by Nagle who had been injured in a diving accident and suffered severe spinal injury becoming a quadriplegic.

“Nagle had dived into an area of Rottnest Island known as the Basin and in diving into the water had hit a partially-submerged rock-ledge. The Basin was described as small sand-bottom u-shaped bathing area on the northern coast of the island surrounded on all sides except the north by a flat-rock area known as a wave-platform, approximately 25cm above low-tide level.

“In this instance, it was held that the Rottnest Island Authority should have erected a sign to warn of the dangers. The High Court explained that it was clear that the rocks existed and that the Authority knew of this hidden danger, therefore, a warning sign should have been erected, especially in a context where the Authority encouraged people to use the Basin as a swimming facility.

The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Kirby has been one of many referring to this case: “…this was the case in which the cost of a sign…was virtually zero and was contrasted with the consequence of the admittedly foolhardy conduct of diving into water from a rock ledge.”

Another reference: “His Honour referred to Nagle v Rottnest Island Authority (1993) 177 CLR 423 (seeE&E Insurance Review, vol. V, no. 1, p. 60; vol. VI, no. 1, p. 42; vol. VIII, no. 1, p. 44) for the principle that a notice may transform a plaintiff’s knowledge of the existence of a danger into a more lively appreciation of the danger.”

No comments:

Post a Comment