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Narrow is the way that leadeth to liability: Miljus v Watpow Constructions Pty Ltd [2012] NSWCA 96


In the recent decision of Miljus v Watpow Constructions Pty Ltd [2012] NSWCA 96 (Miljus) the Court of Appeal had occasion to consider whether an occupier of a building site owed a duty to provide a safe means of access along a public road to the subcontractor of one of the occupier’s independent contractors.

In doing so, the Court of Appeal took the opportunity to clarify the relevance that industry codes of practice and statutory regulations have in determining whether a common law duty of care exists.

Facts

Watpow Constructions Pty Ltd (Watpow) was the head contractor of a residential building project in Seaforth. Watpow retained CSR Ltd (CSR) to provide concrete to the project. To transport the concrete from its depot to the project site, CSR engaged Edensor Transport Pty Ltd (Edensor), a concrete delivery company. Edensor was one of a number of concrete delivery contractors engaged by CSR to transport concrete to the project. Damien Miljus (the plaintiff) and his father were shareholders and directors of Edensor and Edensor employed the plaintiff as a truck driver. Importantly for the later proceedings, Watpow did not engage Edensor or the plaintiff directly...

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