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  • Leave to appeal was granted in a recent public liability claim arising from a fall. The primary judgment posed significant consequences for NSW venues and further consideration by way of appeal was in the broader public interest.
  • The case highlighted the importance of clarity and accuracy in explaining and proving the mechanism of injury: a slip will be treated differently to a trip, misstep or overstep and requires different considerations.
  • Even in successful cases, parties can face significant and devastating financial consequences if the claim does not exceed $100,000. It is important that parties are advised as to these consequences.

On 18 August 2023, the NSW Court of Appeal handed down its decision in Venues NSW v Kane [2023] NSWCA 192. Ms Kerri Kane was injured on 6 July 2019 in a fall at McDonald Jones Stadium in Broadmeadow NSW. Ms Kane was a spectator at the stadium, in attendance to watch a National Rugby League (‘NRL’) game between the Newcastle Knights and the Auckland Warriors. It was a wet and windy day. Ms Kane fell as she descended wet steps in the lower concourse of the western grandstand.

Ms Kane succeeded in the primary District Court of NSW proceedings. On 14 December 2022, Norton SC DCJ of the District Court awarded Ms Kane $91,117. The District Court found that Venues NSW was negligent in failing to install a handrail along the steps on which Ms Kane fell.

Venues NSW appealed and won. Ms Kane was ordered to pay Venues NSW’s costs.

This article covers some of the pertinent and interesting considerations in compensation claims arising from falls, as they arise in this case. This article is not intended to be a wholistic analysis of the relevant provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).

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