Law Assignment: Legal Study On Law Of Negligence & Road Safety
This law assignmentcomprises two compulsory hypothetical problems:
Problem 1: Suppose you are a Magistrate presiding over the Armidale Local Court. You hear the facts of a case, which are as follows. Mrs Andrews and a friend went into a local café in Armidale. The friend ordered a gingerbread latte for both of them. When their orders were delivered, both consumed their lattes. However, Mrs Andrews became alarmed when she noticed a dead cockroach at the bottom of the glass of her latte. Mrs Andrews has brought a claim against the owner of the café for negligently causing her to suffer severe gastro-enteritis and nervous shock. As a Magistrate, can you use any binding and/or persuasive precedents to hold the owner of the café liable Explain how the precedents that you have used are relevant to the facts of this case.
Problem 2: Assume, hypothetically, that the following Act exists. Road Safety Act 2017, which contains the following sections: An Act to protect public safety on the roads; to amend or repeal certain legislation; and for other purposes. [Assented to 1 February 2017] 3 Objects of Act The objects of this Act are: (a) to protect public safety on the roads, … 4 Definitions In this Act “traffic sign” shall include all signals, warnings, signposts, direction posts, or devices. 2 48
Endangering public Any person who deliberately obscures any traffic sign or any part of a traffic sign shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: $200 fine and/or disqualification of driver’s licence for up to six months. Sam was a keen motorist and also a practical joker. She decided she would like to have a bit of a joke one day so she acquired some yellow phosphorescent paint and painted some rude drawings on a number of large white diamonds which had been painted on the road to warn motorists that they were approaching a pedestrian crossing. She was just about to finish the drawing on the seventh diamond when she was apprehended by the police and charged under s 48 of the Road Safety Act. You are a solicitor and Sam now seeks your assistance. What advice would you give her In providing your advice to Sam, you should keep in mind that Section 15AA of the Commonwealth Acts Interpretation Act 1901 provides: In interpreting a provision of an Act, an interpretation that would best achieve the purpose or object of the Act (whether or not that purpose or object is expressly stated in the Act) is to be preferred to each other interpretation.
Introduction to the Study
Analysis of different legal studies helps to identify the application of laws properly and the importance of formulating law in a specific area can be easily evaluated. The law assignment has focused on two areas of legal study including the law of negligence and road safety. The entire discussion has been made based on case laws and statute laws for identifying the necessity of applying different rules in different circumstances. Problem 1 has dealt with the law of negligence and the second problem has discussed with the Road Safety Act 2017.
Identification of Issue
Based on the case of Mrs. Andrew and her friend, it has been identified that both of them had consumed a gingerbread latte and this had been ordered by the friend of Mrs. Andrew. After the latte was consumed, suddenly a dead cockroach had been found by Andrew within the glass and the same was informed to the friend. As the cafe owner did not verify the product properly, it had created a major health issue of Mrs. Andrew's friend. The friend of Mrs Andrew had faced the gastro-enteritis disease and nervous shock. Under these circumstances, Mrs. Andrew had filed a case against the cafe owner as the negligence of the owner was responsible for this major accident. In this case, the key issue is whether Mrs Andrew is legally eligible to get monetary benefits from the cafe owner or not. Furthermore, it is needed to be identified whether a Cafe owner would get a severe punishment for this reason or not.
Relevant Case Laws including statute Law
Mullen vs. AG Barr & Co Ltd (1929)
Based on the case analysis of Mullen, it has been identified that the plaintiff had faced health problem as the ginger beer bottle had contained dead mice. Mullen had filed a case against the Barr Co Ltd. and made a claim regarding damage. Here, the court had provided a solution against the plaintiff considering the fact that Mullen did not directly purchase the ginger beer bottle from Barr & Co. Hence, in this case, the question did not arise regarding compensation .The case result was controversial and that had been amended in the case of Donoghue vs. Stevenson. The controversy regarding the case has been developed as the court has stated that Mullen could not charge against the company as he did not purchase the ginger bottle directly from the Barr Co Ltd. Hence, the court could not adopt any action regarding this matter. The case has been completely defended and the controversy has been developed subsequently. Hence, the case result was not effective and this is why after the same case during the year 1932, the result has been amended.
Stevenson vs. Donoghue (Year 1932)
The case of Stevenson vs. Donoghue depicts that the issue had been raised regarding a snail in the bottle of ginger beer. The case had occurred in Scotland and it reveals that the bottle of ginger beer was given to Mrs. May Donoghue by her friend. After consuming the beer, it was found that the bottle had contained a decomposing snail and she felt illness subsequently. Donoghue had been suffered from the disease of gastro-enteritis and she had filed a case against the manufacturer Mr. David Stevenson. In this case, the plaintiff had claimed a compensation of 500 GBP againstthe manufacturer of beer, and that was defended by Stevenson . The logic of Stevenson was Donoghue did not order the ginger beer bottle and hence she could not claim compensation from the producer. The bottle was ordered by a friend of Mrs. May Donoghue and hence, she had no right to charge directly to the producer regarding the issue. The appeal was made to the House of Lord and based on the decision of the court, the responsibility of Stevenson cannot be denied. Subsequently, Mr. Stevenson had died and Donoghue was awarded a certain amount as compensation.
The case was in favour of Donoghue as she had been affected by the problem. However, the death of Stevenson has damaged the interest of Donoghue and this is why she has obtained partial benefits from the Stevenson. The court has provided the compensation on behalf of Stevenson and hence, it can be completely stated that faults in the case decision of Mullen vs. Ag Barr Co Ltd., are changed in the case decision of Donoghue vs. Stevenson.
Wright vs. Winterbottom (1842)
In this case, the defendant Wright has made a contract with Winterbottom for supplying a mail coach to carry mails properly. The postmaster Winterbottom (Plaintiff) has made the contract for enhancing mail service throughout the UK. Another important matter, in this case, is a third party has been contracted with postmaster Winterbottom in order to provide mail coachman and horses for operating the mail coach successfully .The claimant was a mail coachman and he had been injured badly due to the accident and in this case, defects are found in coaches. The claimant has made a case against the defendant but the claimant had no contractual agreement with that person in the work. In this context, it can be stated that the claimant could not get success in the agreement as there was not a legal contract between two parties. The law of negligence is not applicable in this case and it is mentioned by the court. Considering the Law of Negligence and Limitation of Liability Act 2008 Based on the law of negligence and liability act 2008, in case of damage of a person due to another person is a punishable offense and the compensation is needed to be provided to the suffered or injured person. The term injury has been clearly mentioned in the Act which includes disease, prenatal injury, or psychological issue. On the other hand, the term negligence means failure to provide reasonable care . The detailed analysis of the Act reveals that duty to warn of risk is important and it ensures that reasonable care has been properly implemented. Hence, the duty of warning is an important matter in order to avoid negligence in the work. According to the law, a plaintiff has to prove four factors to file against negligence including duty, breach, cause, and harm. Hence, it is important to focus on the duty of care and harm to another person while the case of negligence would occur.
Application of Case Laws and Statute Law
Case Law Application
Based on two case law analysis, it has been found that the first case law is really controversial as the judgement of the court was against the plaintiff. The defendant had won the case and that was amended in the case of Donoghue. In this case, the Plaintiff has obtained full support from the court and the defendant could not deny his responsibility. Hence, it can be stated that the case-law of Donoghue vs. Stevenson is applicable in Andrew's case. As Mrs. Andrew had filed legal proceedings against the cafe owner, she would receive support from the Armidale court. Considering the case result of Stevenson vs. Donoghue, the process is needed to be applied. As in Andrew's case, the question of negligence would arise; the compensation is needed to be paid to the plaintiff (Mrs. Andrew) by the defendant (Cafe Owner). Donoghue's case analysis reveals that Stevenson had died at the time of running the case. This is why substantial compensation had been given to Donoghue . Hence, considering the case result of Stevenson vs. Donoghue, a certain amount of compensation is needed to be paid to Mrs. Andrew.
The defendant cafe owner cannot avoid his responsibility and deny his negligence regarding the issue. Mrs. Andrew has suffered from gastric enteritis and this responsibility has to be borne by cafe owners.Although the case result of Mullen has been amended in the case decision of Donoghue vs. Stevenson, the case result of Wright vs. Winterbottom could not be changed as in this case the question has been raised regarding the contractual relationship between two parties. The case result was not justifiable as the defendant has provided coaches to Winterbottom and hence, the defendant could not get any punishment as the mail coachman has no direct relationship with Wright. Considering the case result of Mullen and Wright, it can be stated that the cafe owner can defend the case as Mrs. Andrew did not purchase the bottle directly from Cafe Owner.
Application of Statute Law
Based on the application of Negligence and Limited Liability Act 2008, it has been identified that Mrs. Andrew has been suffered from gastro-enteritis and nervous shock problem as a result of the negligence of the cafe owner. Hence, in this case, Mrs. Andrew can file a case against the cafe owner as she is suffering from disease due to the negligence of the cafe owner. Here, the defendant cannot defend the case as he did not focus on the duty of care and for this reason; it has created harm to another person. Here, four factors including duty, breach, harm, and cause are needed to be considered carefully for identifying the intensity of the negligence. Based on the case analysis, it is found that
• Mrs. Andrew is suffering from serious disease due to the negligence of the cafe owner (Violation of duty)
• The cause of negligence has created the problem
• The negligence of one person has damaged the health of another person (Harm)
• Quality service is not provided to Mrs. Andrew (Breach of Duty)
The above evidence clearly depicts that Mrs. Andrew would get full support from the law as all four factors of negligence can be easily proved.
Based on the overall analysis, it has been identified that Cafe Owner is liable to pay compensation to Mrs. Andrew and he cannot avoid his negligence. Based on the intensity of the damage, a lump sum amount is essential to pay to Mrs. Andrew. In this case, the defendant Cafe owner cannot raise the issue that Mrs. Andrew did not buy the latte directly from his shop. The magistrate has to investigate the tort of negligence and subsequently punishment is needed to be decided. Hence, the Magistrate cannot provide any solution in favour of the cafe owner as the negligence has been identified in this case. Mrs. Andrew has suffered from nervous shock and gastro-enteritis as a result of negligence. Hence, The Cafe Owner is completely liable to pay a reasonable amount of compensation to Mrs. Andrew.
Based on the case of Sam, it is found that Sam was a practical joker and keen motorist. She had decided to warn people on the road based on phosphorescent paint. She had made some rued drawings on yellow diamonds that had been painted on the road. The warning sign is a punishable offence according to the Road Safety Act 2017. The reason is the warning sign has been clearly mentioned in the definition of traffic sign. In this case the key issue is the activity of Sam is punishable offence as per Road Safety Act or not. The violation of traffic sign is a punishable offence and in this case the intention of Sam is needed to be investigated.
Relevant Laws regarding Road Safety
Overview of Road Safety Act 2017
According to the Road Safety Act, 2017, it has been identified that traffic signs include signals, warnings, direction post, signpost or devices. Hence, it is important to focus on the traffic rules for maintaining road safety. The main objective of the law is to provide public safety on the road by decreasing number of accidents. The analysis of s-48 of the act clearly depicts that obscures any traffic sign is a punishable offence according to the act. Furthermore, intensity of violation of rules and intention are needed to be judged properly for identifying appropriate punishment. Based on the law, it is found that a penalty of 200 AUD would be charged on an individual if rules are violated and based on the severity of the violation the license would be cancelled for 6 months time period. In this context, it can be stated that the interpretation of the act is made considering the section 15AA of the interpretation act of the commonwealth act 1901 in Australia. In order to ensure road safety, the Act implements strict rules and in this case any activity beyond the rules of section 48 would be considered as violation of rules. Key facts of section 48 are punishments which include 200 AUD penalty and disqualification of driving license. Actually, the act has been framed to fulfil the objective properly and in this context, it is clear that public security is the key objective of the law. Hence, any issue that has been identified illegal according to Road Safety Act would not be tolerated whether it is intentional or unintentional it does not matter.
Analysis of Objective and Section 48 of the Act
The analysis of the objects of the Act, it can be clearly stated that any activity that hampers public safety would not be tolerated by the local government. As the definition of traffic sign has been clearly mentioned in the Road Safety Act, it can be stated that warning sign that is completely unknown according to the law could not be tolerated. Hence, here, it is completely clear that any violation of prescribed rules is a punishable offence under the rules and regulations of Road Safety Act 2017. Warning sign, signpost, direction post or device are four basic elements according to the definition of traffic sign and the case of Sam reveals that she has considered warning sign on the road. The rules and regulations of section 48 of Road Safety Act are transparent and any violation cannot be defended easily.
Application of Laws of the Road Safety Act
The analysis of the law clearly says that s- 48 of Road safety Act 2017 is applicable in case of Sam’s activity. Sam did not consider traffic rules seriously and she had tried to show her creativity on the road. Any activity that violates law is a punishable offence and hence, the punishment according to s-48 is applicable in case of Sam. Sam is liable to pay 200 AUDpenalties to the appropriate authority as she had violated key laws mentioned in the definition of traffic sign. Furthermore, the driving license of Sam may be disqualified for six months time period. The intention of Sam was not wrong and hence in this case the punishment can be reduced to some extent but as she does not follow rules properly, it is the negligence of her. In this case the law is not responsible as it has clearly mentioned what is right and what is wrong according to the Act of Road Safety. The overall analysis of Sam’s case says that the punishment can be reduced in terms of cancellation of driving license only but penalty amount is needed to be made. Here, defendant (Sam) cannot defend the case and plaintiff (Authority) would get complete support according to the law.
Considering the overall objective, section 48 and definition of traffic sign according to the Road Safety Act 2017, it can be stated that the case of Sam cannot be defended. He is intentionally done or unintentionally done the misconduct is not the matter of evaluation to the authority of road safety as the rules are framed transparently for ensuring the public safety on road transportation. As Sam is a keen motorist, her driving licence would be cancelled based on the punishment prescribed in the section 48 of the Road Safety Act 2017. Hence, here, the misconduct done by Sam cannot be defended by considering rules as there are no loopholes in the Road Safety Act. It has enhanced the quality of road safety act and the public protection has been increased. The analysis of entire activities of Sam reveals that she has violated rules unintentionally but it has created issue regarding fulfilment of objectives and hence, it can be stated that Sam cannot defend the case properly. The fulfilment of the key objective is the main motive of Road Safety Act 2017. In this context rules and regulations of Road Safety Act 1999 in Australia can be considered which has described the term offenceproperly and it includes improper use of motor vehicle . The term offence has not been found in the explanation of Road Safety Act 2017 but the term traffic signal has been properly used in the Act. The ultimate objectives of both the cases are to provide public safety to the people on road.
The above discussion reveals that Sam would be punished according to the s-48 of the Road Safety act. The reason is act of Sam has hampered the key objective of the act and hence deteriorated the quality of law. Hence, based on the severity of the act, punishment is needed to be considered. In this context, it can be said that an amount of 200 AUD penalties is mandatory and the cancellation of driving license can be protected as she did not make the act intentionally. As a solicitor, it can be stated that Sam has to pay amounted to 200 AUD to the appropriate authority and her license would be cancelled for six months. In this context, it can be said that the case of Sam can be defended to some extent as severe accident is not occurred due to her activity. The license cancellation time period can be reduced but the penalty is needed to be paid to the authority according to the Road Safety Act 2017.
Conclusion of the study
Based on the analysis of legal aspects of law related to negligence, it can be stated that the harm to any person due to negligence is a punishable offence. Hence, based on the case, it is found that cafe owner is liable to pay compensation to the Mrs Andrew. On the other side, the Road Safety Act 2017 depicts that public safety is the key objective of the Act and violation of rules can create major issue and it is a punishable offence under section 48 of the Act.
Case study: Donoghue v. Stevenson, "Case Study: Donoghue V. Stevenson (1932)", Lawgovpol.Com (Webpage, 2020)
Clancy, M. P., “Scots Law and Scottish Identity: A Legendary Tale” (2018), 27(1). Scottish Affairs.
Law of Negligence and Limitation of Liability 2008, "Law Of Negligence And Limitation Of Liability Act 2008 (NI)", law assignmentLegislation.Gov.Au (Webpage, 2020)
Legislation.Road Transport, "Road Transport (Safety And Traffic Management) Act 1999 | Acts", Legislation.Act.Gov.Au (Webpage, 2020)
Mullen v AG Barr & Co Ltd, "Mullen V AG Barr & Co Ltd |  Scotcs CSIH_3 | Scottish Court Of Session | Judgment | Law | Casemine", Casemine.Com (Webpage, 2020)
Winterbottom vs. Wright 1842, Sites.La.Utexas.Edu (Webpage, 2020)