Negligence in Sport

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Negligence in Sport

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:55 am

Hi, first time poster here. There has been a lot of media attention recently about people who have willingly participated in dangerous sports and been injured. Society believe that these people agree to the risks of these dangerous sports when they participate, but the issue I see here is with the unwritten code of “what happens on the field stays on the field”. The law still applies in sports and specifically the Civil Liability Act 2002 and the Personal Injuries Proceeding Act 2002 apply to not only the participants, but spectators, organizers, referees and coaches. The video below shows the legal processes of the Civil Liability Act. What are your thoughts on the current influence the law has on sport?


Last edited by Admin on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:27 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:40 am

Negligence in sport occurred back in 1987 in Watson Vs. Haines when a state school authority received medical concerns about playing rugby league with a long thin neck from an expert medical authority. In an attempt to educate schools of the risks, 300 kits were made available containing information about players with long thin neck playing hooker. Despite this, the plaintiff was rendered quadriplegic after an incident playing hooker in a rugby league game. The decision was that the education authority did owe a duty of care to the player and was liable for his damages as there was a degree of foreseeability where the education authority was aware of the possible implications.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:52 am

Michael Says: Contrary to the above post, the liability should not be on the club or organization that runs the team, it should be on the board for the particular sport. In the case of Hyde V. Edgar, it was decided that the board was liable as they should have been able to foresee injuries from the contact sport and adjust and write the rules to provide a safer environment for participants. It is important that these rules that are written align with the law and do not make anything that is illegal, allowed in the sport.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:53 am

John says: Even when rules are made to ensure the safest possible sporting environment, injuries can still occur when other people owe a duty of care. As seen in the picture, to ensure the safety of the participant, a duty of care is owed by all present at the sports grounds. Examples of duty of cares owed are coaches making sure that player is playing the right position, the facility manager ensuring that the facility is at a safe standard and the referee making sure the game is played in a safe way.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:00 am

Andrew Says: It is understandable that someone may be injured whilst themselves and others are playing within the rules of the game, but injuries have occurred through actions not consented by the player. Consent is an excuse that may prevent a defendant from incurring any liability. The issue of consent in sports is an ambiguous area of law. It is understood that when participating in sport, persons are consenting or ‘volunteering’ to possible injuries; however, there is also a false interpretation that they are volunteering to injuries outside the rules. For stakeholders, the implications for this can be that the participant could suffer unnecessary needless injury, and have to pay for their damages. Impressionable fans of the sport witnessing this kind of behavior may also believe because it happened on the field they can do it in public, where there is absolutely no consent.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:01 am

John Says: To add on what was stated above, Williams states that the event goes from a contest to a ‘prize fight’ “where sports are unlawful and productive of danger riot or disorder, so as to endanger the peace, and death ensues in the pursuit of them, the party killing is guilty of manslaughter." (Ibid., p. 661.). Williams follows this up by making an exemption for the law "a death accidentally caused in the course of a boxing match does not become manslaughter merely because of disorder on the part of the spectators. " (Ope, cit.) Through this, Williams explains how a contested professional boxing bout can turn to a ‘prize fight’ which is often unlicensed and fought for prize money, becoming unsafe with a disorderly crowd. The implications of these prize fights are that they are unregulated and dangerous for participants and spectators.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:02 am

Stephen Says: This issue of consent in sport can be avoided if there is an arbitrary ruling that, with exception to few conditions, consent to assault which leads to grievous bodily harm cannot be given. Swift J. when referring to the judgement of Cave J (a case regarding consent) stated "If an act is unlawful in the sense of being in itself a criminal act, it is plain that it cannot be rendered lawful because the person to whose detriment it is done consents to it. No person can licence another to commit a crime.” The ruling should serve as a precedent in that the excuse of consent can not be used to eliminate liability for the defendant. This would also mean participants who cause serious harm or kill by performing outside the rules of the sport, should be charged accordingly by the criminal code.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by James1213 on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:02 am

James Says: Whilst stated above that participants should be able to sue for not consenting to actions caused outside the rules of the sport, if the sport is considered dangerous by the Civil Liability Act, and the injury occurs inside the rules of the game, the participant should not be able to sue. The defendant should not be made liable for obvious risk in this case. If a person is injured within the rules of the sport, professional or not, the sports board should be made to pay damages (up to A$25,000) as they didn’t format the rules to allow the safety of the participant. This would ensure that the injured receives some compensation for medical bills and as the system would be automatic payout, there would be less court congestion.

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Re: Negligence in Sport

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:26 am

Thank you everyone for your detailed responses about the issues of consent and liability of participants, referees, organizers and spectators. That was two good recommendations about consent not being able to be given if it causes serious harm and that the sports board should pay for injuries within the sport.

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