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VIC Waive Right to Sue Not for Profit (NFP) Club?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Adam M, 15 January 2015.

  1. Adam M

    Adam M Member

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    Can members of an incorporated club waive their right to sue the club, its members and its executive under Australian Law?

    Here is an example:

    A member of an Incorporated club ran by volunteer members regularly host trips such as 4wd trips or mountain bike trips, on a trip there is an accident causing an injury or death. Is there a law to waive a person's rights to sue the club, it's members or its executive? Obviously this would have to be signed prior to the event, perhaps with the membership form and fee.

    FYI I'm following a similar discussion (Sports Centre - Waive Right to Sue? | LawAnswers.com.au Legal Aid Forums). I see that some rights can be waived but not the one regarding "reckless conduct". This may be fair enough for paying customers but do different laws apply for not for profit/volunteer people.

    If there was a way, it would help remove a lot of the "red tape" associated with volunteers running free events/outings and also other organisations that can't have volunteers helping due to the risk of being sued.

    I come across this problem way too much as a potential volunteer so I have plenty of examples if needed.

    Cheers in advance
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Adam,

    As noted by John R in the above quoted thread, s22 of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act (Vic) provides that a liability exclusion in a contract of a provider of recreational services is not void but it must be in prescribed form and brought to the attention of the person signing prior to engaging in the recreational activity. However, this exclusion, whilst valid, still will not extend to any death or injury caused by "reckless disregard".

    As far as I am aware, an NFP would be in the same situation as a commercial operator. It is against legal policy for someone (volunteer or not) to be able to contract out of liability for reckless endangering someone else.

    The prescribed wording is contained here:
    http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/busi...-limit-liability-for-death-or-personal-injury
     
    DennisD and John R like this.
  3. Adam M

    Adam M Member

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    Thanks Sophea, That was my general understanding too. I'm just finding it hard to see where a person stands in terms of liability. It seems that the ruling on negligence vs recklessness would always come down to the court case and their interpretation.

    It still makes me worry that people could get sued for things they didn't intentionally do, this risk is greatly reduced if a waiver removing the negligence factor is signed but it still puts volunteers at some risk no matter what they do.

    I Know the world is not simple I just wish it was.

    Thanks again for your reply.

    Adam.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean Adam, but you would have to do something pretty silly for your conduct to be classified as reckless. But yes having signed waivers from participants will definitely assist.
     

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