Proportionate liability — restored to working order
Since 2009, the scope of proportionate liability legislation across all Australian jurisdictions has been severely constrained by the imposition of a very high hurdle by the Victorian Court of Appeal in St George Bank v Quinerts (2009) 25 VR 666. Unless tortfeasor A could show that the acts of tortfeasor B contributed to tortfeasor A’s wrongful actions, proportionate liability provisions were not enlivened. Quinerts has since been followed by a five-member bench of the NSW Court of Appeal in Mitchell Morgan v Vella (2011) 16 BPR 30,189.
Yesterday, the High Court delivered a significant decision (Hunt & Hunt v Mitchell Morgan  HCA 10) which overturned the decision in Vella and dismissed much of the reasoning in Quinerts. In doing so, the High Court has confirmed that proportionate liability legislation will have a significant role to play in many disputes where the actions of more than one party were involved in the losses claimed…
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