Wyong Shire Council v Shirt [1980] HCA 12

ON THIS DAY in 1980, the High Court of Australia delivered Wyong Shire Council v Shirt [1980] HCA 12; (1980) 146 CLR 40 (1 May 1980).

“Negligence – Duty of care – Breach of duty – Foreseeability of risk of injury – Likelihood of harm occurring – Erection of sign “deep water” in vicinity of shallow water – Whether foreseeable that inexperienced water-skier would fall and suffer injury.”


Mason J at p48 expressed the “risk calculus”, that when deciding on a breach of duty of care, the court must not only determine a foreseeable risk but it must also determine a reasonable man’s response by “consideration of the magnitude of the risk and the degree of probability of its occurrence, along with the expense, difficulty and inconvenience of taking alleviating action and any other conflicting responsibilities which the defendant may have”.


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