Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

That was the year that was


Schools fear litigation, but the relatively few cases decided by Australian courts and tribunals each year suggest that the fear is ill-founded. However, it is worth looking at some of the cases that do reach court so that schools can take appropriate steps to minimise the risk of finding themselves in similar situations. The author discusses Markos v Catholic Diocese of Port Pirie, a case of negligence on a school camp; Cahill v State of New South Wales (Department of Education and Training), relating to psychological injury from repeated exposure to violent behaviour; Fitzgerald v Hill & Ors, a case of failure of duty of care; Rouvinetis v Varady & Ors, relating to injury to a member of the public on school grounds; and HWC v The Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane & Ors, which was brought by a plaintiff who sought to extend the time in which he could bring a claim as a result of being sexually abused by his music teacher when he was a school student more than 25 years ago. Considering the number of schools throughout Australia, there is thankfully not an abundance of litigation. However, every case provides a timely reminder to schools to consider their obligations and ensure risk-minimisation strategies are in place. [Author abstract, ed]

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