The High Court elected not to disturb the findings of the Court of Appeal, commenting that there was "no need to doubt the conclusion of the Court of Appeal" whose findings related to interpretation of breach of duty and s.5B of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).
The appeal related to the extent of the duty owed by domestic occupiers to ensure that repairs would be properly carried out. Depending upon the nature of the repairs, it is clear that there is no need for a domestic occupier to exhaustively investigate the expertise of tradespeople hired.
For example, as was the case here, where a kitchen rangehood is simply fitted and plugged in, it was sufficient for the occupier to rely upon a tradesperson who advertised locally, attended with the new rangehood and fitted it. Even though that fitting was negligent, that related to the responsibility of the tradesperson, not the occupier.
Of factual relevance in Fabre v Lui, the defective fitting was not easily identified, the rangehood stayed in place for 3 years and there was no evidence of defect that could be detected on reasonable inspection during that time.
That the High Court has refused to disturb the findings of the Court of Appeal provides much needed certainty to domestic occupiers and their insurers.
*CHRISTINE FABRE v BONNY LAI CHUN LUI  HCASL 230
Shona Wilde, Sydney
Graeme Armstead, Melbourne
Peter Jones, Adelaide
Darren Miller, Perth
Peter Forbes-Smith, Tasmania
Chris Osborne, Darwin
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