Was based on a notion that some public bodies are

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was based on a notion that some public bodies are granted powers of such magnitude or comolexity as to create a general expectation on the part of the individual members of society that the power will be excercised for their benefit, Mason says to be liable the public body must forsee:
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1. The plaintiff would rely on it to exercise its statutory power, where that reliance is reasonable, and 2. The plaintiff would suffer damage as a result Brennan: There are circumstances in which a duty to act positively may arise- one being where the undertaking of some task which leads another to rely on it being performed. Someone who has assumed responsibility. Other judges neither accepted nor rejected Pyrenees Shire Council v Day ( 1998) 192 CLR 330 (CB 482) Facts: . D had become aware that there was a dangerous fireplace in the rental property of the local council. D had statutory powers enabling it or empowering it to do something about the fireplace. Sent notices to owner and tenant saying they were required to do something about the dangerous fireplace. D did not do anything further never followed up on notices or checked to see if anything had been done. Nothing was done. After a while tenant moved out, new tenant moved in. New tenant unaware of problem and put wood in fireplace. Resulting inferno did damage to rental property and building next door. Owner of builder next door as well as tenant sued local council for failing to ensure something be done about the fireplace. Issue: Did the local council have a duty to act in a situation where they knew of a dangerous existing situation but failed to exercise a discretionary stautory power or powers available to it? (The HC accepted that the statutory powers were conferred upon a local council for the purposes of preventing the kind of harm (fire) that eventuated- did they exercise these powers properly? Held: (Majority 3:2 liable for both Plaintiffs.) NO SINGLE RATIO, however the majority found that once the Council had embarked upon alleviating the known danger of the unsafe chimney it brought itself a duty to follow through with it. They stressed that once the Council took the intitial action further steps to remedy the dangerous situation existing in premises were both permissible and practicable. Brennan CJ - action against statutory authority for failing to exercise statutory power arises where: in the circumstances it would be irrational not to have exercised the power; and the purpose for which the power is conferred is protection of the person or property of the class of individuals of which plaintiff is a member. ‘irrational’ means a reasonable person, acting in goof faith, would consider the refusal to exercise its statutory powers as capricious or brought about by inexcusable bureaucratic inefficiency.
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