The High Court has ruled that people serving alcohol are not at risk of of massive claims for damages if a drinker comes to grief on the way home. One would hope that commonsense will prevail and folk will conform with responsible serving guidelines. Some of the claims were a bit over the top so this can be seen as a reasonable move.
Without dissent, five judges overturned a decision of the full bench of Tasmania’s Supreme Court that found a publican who returned motorcycle keys to a drunken patron, who then died in a crash, had failed in a duty of care.
Three of the judges opted to make a more detailed explanation of their decision to “avoid repetition” of such cases and to warn against “interfering paternalism”.
They ruled that outside exceptional cases, hotel owners and licensees “owe no general duty of care at common law to customers … (requiring) them to monitor and minimise the service of alcohol or to protect customers from the consequences of the alcohol they choose to consume”.