Adeels Palace Pty Ltd v Moubarak [2009] HCA 48

ON 10 NOVEMBER 2009, the High Court of Australia delivered Adeels Palace Pty Ltd v Moubarak; Adeels Palace Pty Ltd v Bou Najem [2009] HCA 48 (10 November 2009).

Early on New Years day in 2003, Mr Moubarak and Mr Bou Jajem were injured on the premises of Adeels Palace Restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Punchbowl. The men were shot by another patron who had earlier been involved in a dispute on the dance floor, left the premises and returned with a gun.

The men sued for damages, alleging that their injuries were the result of Adeels’ negligence in failing to provide any or any sufficient security on the night of the incident. The men succeeded before the District Court of NSW and NSW Court of Appeal. However, the High Court allowed Adeels’ appeal and set aside the earlier decisions.

The High Court held that the evidence did not establish that action could have been taken to prevent the violent conduct occurring. The court held that the evidence only went as far as showing that the provision of more security might have prevented the damage but did establish, on the balance of probabilities, that it would have prevented the damage.

The court held that it was unnecessary to determine whether or not there was a breach of duty of care because the men had not established that Adeels’s failure to provide any or any sufficient security was a necessary cause of their damage as required under s5D of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).

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