LLB102 Week 8 Tutorial
Caltex Oil (Australia) Pty Ltd v The Dredge ‘Willemstad’
- Idencaon and statement of “ascertained class” test by Gibbs and Mason JJ.
There are exceponal cases in which the defendant has knowledge or means of knowledge
that the plain) individually and not merely as a member of an unascertained class, will be
likely to su)er economic loss as a consequence of his negligence, and owes the plain) a
duty to take care not to cause him such damage by his negligent act.
It was material but not su-cient that:
- Some property of the plain) was in physical proximity to the damaged property or
- The plain) and the person where property was injured were engaged in a common
Mason J at 590-194:
- A defendant will be liable for economic damage due to his negligent conduct when
he can reasonably foresee that a specic individual, as disnct from a general class
of persons, will su)er nancial loss as a consequence of the conduct.
Christopher v The Motor Vessel “Fiji Gas”
How the test was dened in Christopher:
- To require knowledge of the plain) at the me of the breach i.e.: the fact that the
plain)’s may have been “ascertainable” a8er the fact was insu-cient.
Fortuna Seafoods Pty Ltd v The Ship ‘External Wind’
How the test was dened in Fortuna:
- The test was applied less strictly. Sased if the plain)s were members of an
“ascertainable class”, that is if the defendant had knowledge or the means of
knowledge that the plain)s were members of an “ascertainable” class of vulnerable
- Parcular signicant a:ached to the closeness of the commercial relaonship
between the plain) and the owner of the damaged property
Some a:empt at cricism/crique of the test:
- The test is not su-cient of itself to found a duty of care for pure economic loss – see,
e.g. Fortuna Seafoods which states that the test requires supplementaon
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