These problems and the respective questions are based on Modules 1 and 2 and reading Material. Please ensure that you have read the recommended reading material contained on the blackboard. Students are required to have read the Modules and its required reading before commencing this assignment. All answers to questions cover the materials contained in this material. When answering the questions please indicate the facts or assumptions being relied upon.

At the end of the assignment students should provide a bibliography stating all cases and material read for this assignment

This assignment is worth 30% of a student’s overall mark for the subject.

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The skills that are relevant in the assessment of this assignment are:

1. The ability to identify from the facts the relevant legal issues

2. To describe the relevant legal concepts and principles by reference to the judgments in the cases studied.

3. To arrive at a possible conclusion in relation to legal liability of the various parties on the basis of applying the legal concepts and principles to that fact situation.

4. The identification of a possible management response, having regard to the avoidance of the issues of liability identified.


You are the Principal Engineering Consultant employed by Brownwood Mining and Power ( BMP). BMP operates a large cut mine which has been established for some 50 years and is close to residential areas. As the mine is quite old it is not very profitable to operate.

BMP is undergoing some long overdue repairs and maintenance of the mine. BMP engages Worldwide Electrical Company Ltd (WWE) to carry out necessary electrical works and the removal of obsolete electrical structures. The mine has been operating for some time and a certain disused areas have had fire safety equipment systems and sprinkler systems removed due to cost pressures.

In the course of carrying out its work WWE causes of fire from equipment that it is using to carry out the work. The work was carried out in conditions of high fire risk but WWE was given a tight deadline to complete the work.

Due to the fact that the fire safety equipment systems and sprinkler systems were removed from certain parts of the mine the fire spreads extensively and causes damage.

There are various potential claims from persons who have suffered damage.

Damages have included

I. Houses being burnt down

II. Numerous persons suffering hospitalisation due to the aggravation of their health conditions due to the smoke and haze from the fire

III. Businesses that have had to close as they could not operate due to the dangerous circumstances and closeness to the fire.

IV. Workers is being stood down as a result of the interruption to the production of the businesses .T.


(1) does BMP have any liability at law for the damages caused by the fire and what is the basis in law of determining such liability .what is the extent of the duty of care of BMP .

(2) what is the basis of attributing any liability for the damage arising from the fire to BMP or WWE.

(3) in the case where there is a legal liability what are the limits imposed and recovery in respect of the various classes of persons referred to above to whom the damage was caused .

4. Having regard to the problems experienced what procedures would you put into place to limit exposure to claim of negligence. Does compliance with current standards bar successful claims for negligence





Module 1 and 2

Learning Material Course Documents all detailed references to cases are in the learning material

(1) Woolcock Street Investments V CDG
(2) Burnie Port Authority V General Jones
(3) Johnston Tiles V Esso
(4) Leighton Contracors V Callinan
Learning Material Construction Law Readings

(1) Northern Sandblasting V Harris 1997 HCA 39
(2) Northern Territory V Arthur John Mengel 1994 HCA 33
(3) Perre V Appand 1999 HCA 36
(4) Caltex Oil V The Willimstad
(5) Dederer and RTA
(6) Discussion of the Case of Dederer and RTA
(7) Part 12 Chapter on Professional Liability
(8) Protection of Rights After Woolcock Investments
(9) Engineers Australia Code of Conduct

The following feedback on Past Assignments has been included to assist students. This does not form a formal part of the Direction for the Assignment
There were some basic matters

1. Bibliography or Reference List

This is necessary to include a list of all the material read including cases, articles and textbooks. This helps the assessment of the work. The list should include all the items read including items that were not specifically quoted.

2. Basic Readings

The assignment included a reference to the items of the blackboard and some specific cases. Some students did not include even the basic cases in their answer.

3. Support Contentions by principles in Case Law

You should always state what principle in case you rely on and explain it in your own words


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