Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW)

ON 18 JUNE 2002, the NSW Civil Liability Act 2002 was enacted.

The substantive provisions commenced retrospectively on 20 March 2002. There have been successive amendments, notably those which commenced in December 2002 and 2004 and June 2006.

The Act modifies the Australian common law with respect to civil liability claims in New South Wales, except those set out in s3B.

The Act limits the circumstances in which people may recover damages for civil wrongs and the amount of damages and costs they recover.

The significant features of the Act include:

  • Statement of principles for determining negligence.
  • Modification of causation test.
  • No duty to warn of obvious risk.
  • No liability for materialisation of inherent risk.
  • No liability for harm suffered from obvious risks of dangerous recreational activities.
  • No duty of care for risk warning of dangerous recreational activity.
  • Standard of care for professionals.
  • Contributory negligence can defeat a claim.
  • Fixing damages for economic and non-economic loss, including thresholds, discounts and maximum limits.
  • Limiting interest.
  • Restrictions for persons in custody.
  • Restrictions for mental harm.
  • Allocation of proportionate liability for concurrent wrongdoers.
  • Limiting liability of public authorities.
  • Restricting recovery for intoxicated persons.
  • Exclusion of liability for persons acting in self defence, good Samaritans, food donors or volunteers.
  • Apologies not to affect liability.
  • Limiting damages for birth of a child.
  • Exclusion of liability for trespass or nuisance by ordinary use of aircraft.
  • Costs restrictions.

The Act does not apply to claims (or parts of claims) regarding:

  • Intentional acts with the intent to cause injury or death or sexual assault or other sexual misconduct.
  • Dust diseases.
  • Tobacco.
  • Motor Accidents and public transport accidents.
  • Workers, Victims and Sporting Injuries compensation.


Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088