High Court of Australia

Cole v South Tweed Heads Rugby League Football Club Limited [2004] HCA 29

217 CLR 469; 78 ALJR 933; 207 ALR 52

15 Jun 2004

Case Number: S403/2003

Before

Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan JJ

Catchwords

Negligence – Duty of care – Appellant seriously injured by motor vehicle shortly after leaving respondent's premises in intoxicated state – Level of specificity of formulation of duty of care – Whether respondent owed duty to take reasonable care to monitor and moderate amount of alcohol served to appellant – Whether respondent owed duty of care to take reasonable care that appellant travelled safely away from respondent's premises – Whether duty of care existed to protect persons from harm caused by intoxication following deliberate and voluntary decision on their part to drink to excess – Whether duty took into account the vulnerability of some persons to alcohol consumption – Relevance of statutory provisions, creating offences in relation to conduct on club premises and requiring police to eject intoxicated persons from premises, to existence or content of duty of care owed by respondent where no allegation made of breach of statutory duty – Registered Clubs Act 1976 (NSW).

Negligence – Breach of duty and causation – Appellant seriously injured by motor vehicle shortly after leaving respondent's premises in intoxicated state – Whether respondent's offer of safe transport to appellant discharged any duty owed by respondent to take reasonable steps for appellant's safety – Whether assurance by other patrons that they would look after appellant discharged any onus on respondent – Whether, assuming respondent in breach of duty to monitor and moderate consumption, breach of duty was a cause of injuries ultimately sustained – Remoteness of damage – Reasonable foreseeability.

Words and phrases – "intoxication".

Registered Clubs Act 1976 (NSW) – ss 44A, 67A.
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