As part of its law reform program for the Australian Capital Territory, the ALRC called for suggestions from members of the public as to which laws of the ACT required reform. In response to these public submissions, the ALRC considered a number of suggestions relating to negligence, including:
- abolition of the defence of contributory negligence in fatal accident cases;
- abolition of the defence of contributory negligence in breach of statutory duty cases; and
- clarification of the assessment of funeral costs in fatal accident cases.
The final report, ALRC Report 28, was tabled on 29 November 1985.
- The defence of contributory negligence in fatal accident and breach of statutory duty cases should be abolished.
- The Compensation (Fatal Injuries) Ordinance 1968 (ACT) should be amended to allow ACT residents to receive compensation for the range of funeral expenses available to residents of other States and Territories. To prevent excessive claims, a monetary ceiling should be imposed on the amount available.
The Commission’s recommendations were implemented in the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 1991 (No 2) (ACT) and the Compensation (Fatal Injuries) (Amendment) Act 1991 (ACT).