High Court of Australia

Robinson Helicopter Company Incorporated v McDermott [2016] HCA 22

8 Jun 2016

Case Number: B61/2015


French CJ, Bell, Keane, Nettle, Gordon JJ


Torts – Negligence – Personal injury – Breach of duty of care – Duty to take precautions against risk – Where first respondent seriously injured in crash of helicopter manufactured by appellant – Where crash resulted from defect caused by third party – Where helicopter subject to multiple routine inspections but defect not detected – Whether appellant's maintenance manual for helicopter provided sufficient instruction to facilitate detection of defect – Whether appellant breached duty of care.

Torts – Negligence – Causation – Where majority of Court of Appeal found multiple possible causes of damage suffered – Whether open to majority of Court of Appeal to find one particular possibility more likely to have occurred than other possibilities – Whether causation established by failure to take precautions against risk other than that which in fact occurred.

Appeal – Rehearing – Where primary judge drew inferences and made findings of fact based on lay and expert evidence – Whether majority of Court of Appeal erred by overturning primary judge's findings of fact.

Words and phrases – "causation", "contrary to compelling inferences", "glaringly improbable", "incontrovertible facts or uncontested testimony", "real review".

Civil Liability Act 2003 (Q) – ss 9(1)(c), 12.

Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (Cth) – regs 31, 42V(1), 42ZC.

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