April 2014

High Court upholds Court of Appeal decision about an injury at a social event at the employer's premises

In October 2012, Bartier Perry successfully appealed the Workers Compensation Commission Presidential decision in Pioneer Studies Pty Limited v Hills [2012] NSWCA 324.  The Court of Appeal held the evidence before the Commission did not support the Commission’s conclusion there was a causal link between the worker’s employment and the injury sustained at a social event held on the employer’s premises. 

The Court of Appeal held the relevant test for determining the connection between employment and the injury is an objective one.  Any connection depends on what was actually required of an employee by the employer and what an employee actually does, rather than the employee’s subjective impression of what was required.  The Court considered it was essential to identify the specific requirements or tasks of the employment in order to determine the relationship between the injury and the employment. 

In handing down its decision yesterday, the High Court refused the worker’s special leave application.  The High Court decided there was no reason to doubt the correctness of the conclusion of the Court of Appeal and doubted the worker had any prospects of a successful appeal to the High Court. 

In accordance with the Court of Appeal’s decision, the matter will now be re-determined by the Commission applying the law as set out in the appeal judgment.

Click here to read the special leave disposition decision by the High Court on 2 April 2014.

For further information, refer to 'Court of Appeal explains connection between employment and injury', Bartier Perry Bulletin of October 2012 in relation to the Court of Appeal decision.

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