Australian Safeway Stores Pty Ltd v Zaluzna [1987] HCA 7

NEGLIGENCE. OCCUPIER’S LIABILITY. INJURY. ON THIS DAY IN 1987, the High Court of Australia delivered Australian Safeway Stores Pty Ltd v Zaluzna [1987] HCA 7; (1987) 162 CLR 479 (10 March 1987).

An occupier of premises owes a duty of care under the ordinary principles of negligence to take reasonable care for the safety of a person who enters the premises, irrespective of whether they are an invitee, trespasser or licensee.

Per Mason, Wilson, Deane and Dawson JJ at 488:

“We think it is wholly consistent with the trend of recent decisions of this Court touching the law of negligence, both in this area of an occupier’s liability towards entrants on his land and in the areas which were the subject of consideration in San Sebastian Pty. Ltd. v. Minister Administering the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 [1986] HCA 68; (1986) 68 ALR 161 and Cook v. Cook [1986] HCA 73; (1986) 61 ALJR 25; 68 ALR 353, to simplify the operation of the law to accord with the statement of Deane J. in Hackshaw, at pp.662-663:

‘… it is not necessary, in an action in
negligence against an occupier, to go through the
procedure of considering whether either one or
other or both of a special duty qua occupier and an
ordinary duty of care was owed. All that is
necessary is to determine whether, in all the
relevant circumstances including the fact of the
defendant’s occupation of premises and the manner
of the plaintiff’s entry upon them, the defendant
owed a duty of care under the ordinary principles
of negligence to the plaintiff. A prerequisite of
any such duty is that there be the necessary degree
of proximity of relationship. The touchstone of
its existence is that there be reasonable
foreseeability of a real risk of injury to the
visitor or to the class of person of which the
visitor is a member. The measure of the discharge
of the duty is what a reasonable man would, in the
circumstances, do by way of response to the
foreseeable risk.'”


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