Legal Groundup

Legal Studies from the ground up

Application Excercise 3a

Legal Studies from the ground up Answers to chapter 3 activities

1. Strong was injured when her crutch slipped on a greasy chip on the footpath outside a Woolworths store and she fell.

2. Strong sued Woolworths claiming that their failure to clean the footpath regularly had negligently caused her injury.

3. Woolworths argued that, even if they had employed a cleaner to check the area every 20 minutes, Strong would have to prove that the chip had been on the footpath for a longer period than 20 minutes in order to establish that Woolworths’ failure to clean had caused her injury. Woolworths claimed that because the incident happened at 12:30pm, it was more likely that the chip had been dropped by someone who had just purchased their lunch, and so a regular cleaning check would not have prevented the injury occurring.

4. The High Court decided that the evidence did not allow a conclusion about when the chip had been dropped. However, the High Court decided on the balance of probabilities that the chip had probably been on the ground for more than 20 minutes, and that Woolworths’ failure to have a regular cleaning schedule had negligently caused Strong’s injury. Factual causation was satisfied.

5. The High Court concluded that once Strong had established causation between Woolworth’s failure to regularly clean the area and her injury, there was no argument about whether it was appropriate to extend the scope of Woolworths’ liability to the harm that she suffered: it was appropriate for this to be within the scope of their responsibility.