Taylor v The Owners – Strata Plan No 11564 & Ors [2014] HCA 9

ON 2 APRIL 2014, the High Court of Australia delivered Taylor v The Owners Strata Plan 11564 [2014] HCA 9.

The appellant, Susan Taylor, successfully appealed a decision of the NSW Court of Appeal with respect to a claim for a fatal accident  involving her late husband, Craig Taylor.  The deceased was killed on 7 December 2007, when an awning outside a shop on Sydney Road, Balgowlah, collapsed on him. The appellant made a claim under the Compensation to Relatives Act 1897 on her own behalf and on behalf of the dependants of the deceased. Part of the claim involved a loss of expectation of financial support.

The High Court held that s12(2) of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) (which limits damages for economic loss and loss of expectation of financial support) does not apply to claims under the Compensation to Relatives Act 1897 (NSW).  It was held that Act is to be construed so that the limits imposed by the section related to the “claimant” but not the deceased.  Accordingly, when assessing damages for loss of expectation of financial support, the court was not required to disregard the amount by which the deceased’s gross weekly earnings, but for his death, would have exceeded three times the average weekly earnings.

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