The Bar Association's concernsï¿½in respect of the Civil Liability Legislation Amendment Bill 2008ï¿½were aired during second readingï¿½debate in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, 28 October. However, the Bill was passed without amendment and has since received its 'Agreed to in Principle' speech in the lower house. Theï¿½aims of the Bill, as provided by the explanatory notesï¿½are as follows:
(a) to require a person who may have a claim for damages against a protected defendant (the Department of Corrective Services and certain other public sector defendants) in respect of an injury to an offender in custody:
(i) to notify the protected defendant within 6 months of the incident that gives rise to the claim, and
(ii) to provide certain information about the incident to the protected defendant,
(b) to provide that Part 2A of the Act (Special provisions for offenders in custody) extends to a claim in relation to a tort for which the protected defendant is vicariously liable,
(c) to make it clear that the general limitation on the Actâs application to intentional acts does not interfere with the operation of Part 2A (in particular the operation of that Part in respect of victim claims that involve intentional acts),
(d) to make changes to the system under which a victim of an offender can make a claim against damages awarded to the offender against a protected defendant, including:
(i) increasing the period within which a victim can make such a claim from 6 months from the date the offender was awarded damages to 12 months from that date, and
(ii) authorising the Commissioner of Police to provide information to the protected defendant about persons who may have a victim claim against the offender, and replacing the requirement that the protected defendant must notify victims within 28 days after damages are awarded to the offender with a requirement that the notification be given as far as practicable within 28 days (so as to facilitate the notification of victims who are identified outside the 28-day period), and
providing that offender damages are to be held in trust by the Public Trustee (rather than the protected defendant),
(e) other minor and miscellaneous amendments.
The Bill also amends the Civil Liability Act 2002, the Motor Accidents Act 1988 and the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 to make it clear that damages are to be awarded for gratuitous attendant care services only if the services are provided (or to be provided) for at least six hours per week and for at least six consecutive months. The amendment overcomes the effect of the Court of Appeal decision in Harrison v Melhem  NSWCA 67.
29 October 2008