State Government Insurance Commission v Trigwell [1979] HCA 40 | 19 September 1979

ON 19 SEPTEMBER 1979, the High Court of Australia delivered State Government Insurance Commission v Trigwell [1979] HCA 40; (1979) 142 CLR 617 (19 September 1979).

The High Court confirmed the English common law rule of Searle v Wallbank “that the owner or occupier of a property adjoining the highway is under no legal obligation to users of it so to keep and maintain his hedges, fences and gates as to prevent animals from straying on to it, and that he is not under any duty as between himself and users of it to take reasonable care to prevent any of his animals, not known to be dangerous, from straying on to it” (at 631).

Since this decision, State legislatures have passed laws to make farmers liable for the actions of their animals.

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