Finity’s Geoff Atkins shares his thoughts on a South Australian claim for a lost superannuation pension recently heard in the High Court.
The High Court decision in Latz here feels to me like a throwback to the early 1980s. That was when a series of decisions significantly expanded the scope of common law damages for personal injury. We had Todorovic v Waller, Griffiths v Kirkemeyer and Fox v Wood all within a couple of years, as well as the Barrell case challenging the discount rate for damages.
By the end of the 1990s the Courts had clearly swung back to a more conservative approach (with the singular exception of Sullivan v Gordon in the NSW Court in 1999, later overturned in the High Court in 2005).
Does this signal a change in direction after a long period of tort temperature stability following the tort reforms of 2002 and 2003?
I was surprised at the lack of clarity about ‘loss of earning capacity’ in the reasons of the five judge majority in Latz. I was more surprised that the claim for loss of the age pension made it through the Court of Appeal in South Australia, although it did not survive the High Court.
Please join me in welcoming ‘Latz Damages’ to the lexicon of personal injury law.