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Homework Question - Who is Liable for Damages from Cloakroom?

Discussion in 'Australian Law School Homework Questions' started by kimx123, 11 June 2016.

  1. kimx123

    kimx123 Active Member

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    If a South Australian business runs a cloakroom at an event and on their tickets they have this statement: "we do not take any responsibility or liability for clothing checked in to our cloakroom," would the business be liable for damages if an employee incorrectly returns stored items to the wrong owners? And what Australian Law would apply in this case?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Maybe. Much depends on other signage and what was said at the time of handing in. This is a grey area of law.

    Common law.
     
  3. kimx123

    kimx123 Active Member

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    Thanks Rod, for all intents and purposes, the only signage is the mentioned disclaimer on the ticket. Any other communications are not relevant. Yeah, grey areas are hard to apply laws to, but at least, we can get a general idea.

    I assume there might be some protection against this under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, I am still looking into it, though!
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Terms only appearing on the ticket is in your favour and has no legal force by itself if it was received after you handed in the goods.

    Not sure the ACL can be used for a bailment service as it is not in 'trade or commerce'. ie you didn't pay for anything.
     
  5. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Not grey.
    T&Cs of the ticket are conclusive.
     
  6. kimx123

    kimx123 Active Member

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    Thanks Tim, would you be able to point me to some legislation or case law etc, that outlines this?

    Okay but, what if there was no legal contract as the consideration of both parties did not occur. ie there was no money involve and it was only a "favour" for them to look after the stored item, even though it was in a commercial setting. ie business anniversary celebration.

    You wouldn't need to take the T&Cs into account because there was no contract in the first place so no legal action can be taken against the business?

    Appoligies if I keep asking related questions, I am just trying to get a better understanding!
     
  7. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Are you the cloakroom operator or the customer?
     
  8. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hey Tim,

    This is why people need lawyers. :)

    Ticket is received after the cloak/object has been handed over. Bailee accepts item. Hands ticket over with an identifier on it for the bailor to use when reclaiming item. At this point the 'transaction' is complete. No disclosure of hidden terms have been made prior to completion.

    If item has been mistakenly handed to a 3rd party, the Bailee has misdelivered goods and is liable for loss: Jackson v Cochrane; and Thomas v High indicates this is a tort.
    Employer liable for actions of employee: Makower, McBeath v Dalgety.
     
  9. kimx123

    kimx123 Active Member

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    This is hypothetical but; cloakroom operator.

    Thanks Rod that is very informative, I will have a look at those case laws!
     
  10. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    What unit are you studying? Commercial, torts, contract? Look up Bailment in any case and tort of detinue.
     

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