Construction Law Review

Construction Law Review – September

Please refer below to our Construction Law Review, selected from AR Conolly’s Daily Bulletins covering Insurance, Banking, Construction & Government.

Surfstone Pty Ltd v Morgan Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd [2016] QCA 213
Court of Appeal of Queensland
M McMurdo P, Morrison JA & Atkinson J
Contract – evidence – appellants arranged to have construction work carried out – respondent engineers submitted fee proposal stating ‘commission would be generally in accordance with the ACEA Guideline Terms of Agreement’ – respondent did not provide appellants with copy of Guideline terms – appellants did not request Guideline terms – clause of Guideline Terms limited duration of respondent’s liability for commission to one year from completion – appellants filed claim in negligence 9 years after respondent submitted last invoice – respondent alleged Guideline Terms were incorporated into contract and that clause prevented appellants from bringing action – primary judge found in respondent’s favour – appellants appealed – held: grounds of appeal failed – appeal dismissed.

Hoy v Coffs Harbour City Council [2016] NSWCA 257
Court of Appeal of New South Wales
Bathurst CJ; Simpson & Payne JJA
Environment and planning – compulsory acquisition of land – commissioners determined applicant was entitled to compensation in respect of respondent’s compulsory acquisition of land it owned – judge of Land and Environment Court dismissed appeal – value of residue lot – costs of developing steep land – whether legal costs of establishing hardship were not disturbance costs ‘in connection with the compulsory acquisition of the land’ – construction of s59(a) Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW) – ss21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 47, 54, 55, 56, 59, 66 Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW) – ss56A, 57 Land and Environment Court Act 1979 (NSW) – held: leave to appeal granted only on issue of statutory construction – appeal dismissed.

Clarke v Greater Shepparton City Council [2016] VSC 542
Supreme Court of Victoria
Keogh J
Negligence – plaintiff alleged he was in injured in fall when he tripped on raised stormwater drain pit on reserve – plaintiff sued council alleging it breached duties as authority responsible for reserve and the stormwater pit – plaintiff contended defendant’s duty to pedestrians arose at common law, under s40 Road Management Act 2004 (Vic) under Sch 7 Road Management Act – held: defendant breached common law and statutory duties as road authority and infrastructure manager by failure to take precautions responding to hazard of the raised stormwater pit – defendant’s contributory negligence assessed at 15% – judgment for plaintiff.

State Insurance Regulatory Authority v Abdul-Rahman [2016] NSWCA 210
Court of Appeal of New South Wales
Basten, Meagher & Gleeson JJA
Limitation of actions – workers compensation – Authority commenced Local Court proceedings against employer for payment of debt pursuant to s156(1) Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW), for failure to obtain and maintain policy of insurance – debt was for amount twice the premium for non-insured period and further sum for inspection costs – Magistrate dismissed employer’s jurisdictional defence that limitation period had expired before proceedings commenced – Magistrate characterised debt as a ‘penalty’, which entailed that the limitation period was two years under s18(1) Limitation Act 1969 (NSW), and found that the cause of action had accrued on the date Authority notified employer by issuing certificate specifying amount due – employer succeeded on appeal to Supreme Court – Authority sought to appeal – held: amount recoverable pursuant to s156 Workers Compensation Act was a penalty – no cause of action arose until Authority determined employer’s liability and amount recoverable – appeal allowed.
State Insurance