case study - HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA GLEESON CJ, GAUDRON,...

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HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA GLEESON CJ, GAUDRON, McHUGH, GUMMOW, KIRBY, HAYNE AND CALLINAN JJ GARY JOHN HOLLIS APPELLANT AND VABU PTY LIMITED RESPONDENT trading as CRISIS COURIERS Hollis v Vabu Pty Ltd [2001] HCA 44 9 August 2001 S149/2000 ORDER 1. Appeal allowed with costs. 2. Set aside the orders of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales of 5 November 1999. In place thereof order that the appeal to that Court be allowed with costs, the verdict and orders of the District Court of New South Wales be set aside and that judgment be entered for the appellant in the sum of $176,313.00 with costs. On appeal from the Supreme Court of New South Wales Representation: G B Hall QC with S Norton for the appellant (instructed by Brydens Law Office) D F Jackson QC with W S Reynolds and J J Ryan for the respondent (instructed by Henry Davis York) Notice: This copy of the Court's Reasons for Judgment is subject to formal revision prior to publication in the Commonwealth Law Reports.
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CATCHWORDS Hollis v Vabu Pty Ltd t/as Crisis Couriers Negligence – Vicarious liability – Employee or independent contractor – Control – Bicycle courier negligently injured plaintiff – Bicycle courier wearing defendant's uniform but otherwise unidentified – Whether defendant vicariously liable for courier's negligence – Whether relationship between bicycle courier and defendant one of employment or independent contract – Whether bicycle courier is agent carrying out activity as principal's authorised representative dealing with third party. Employer and employee – Independent contractor – Bicycle courier and courier company – Whether bicycle courier's relationship is that of employment or independent contract. Words and phrases – "agent", "employee", "independent contractor", "vicarious liability".
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1 2 GLEESON CJ, GAUDRON, GUMMOW, KIRBY AND HAYNE JJ. This appeal involves issues respecting the nature of the relationship of employment and the scope of the doctrine of vicarious liability. The appellant, Mr Hollis, appeals against the decision of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (Sheller and Giles JJA; Davies AJA dissenting) 1 . That Court dismissed his appeal from the decision at trial in the District Court (Wright ADCJ) returning a verdict for the defendant, the present respondent ("Vabu"), in the action by Mr Hollis for damages for personal injury. The facts 3 4 Vabu at all material times conducted in the Sydney area and under the business name "Crisis Couriers" a business of delivering parcels and documents. In December 1994, it had about 25 to 30 persons as bicycle couriers, and a number of others as motorcycle and motor vehicle couriers. Mr Hollis was a courier, but not a bicycle courier, with a firm styled "Team Couriers". On 22 December 1994, Mr Hollis was leaving a building in Ultimo where he had attended to pick up a parcel. He had taken two steps on the footpath when he was struck by a cyclist and knocked to the ground. The cyclist went over the handlebars and
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case study - HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA GLEESON CJ, GAUDRON,...

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