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MAV Insurance appeal successful

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MAV Insurance has successfully appealed a Supreme Court decision that could have led to councils maintaining local nature strips to the standard of footpaths, saving them potentially millions of dollars in avoided maintenance and legal costs.

In the matter of Greater Shepparton City Council v Stephen Graham Clarke [2017] VSCA 107 the Supreme Court originally found that a large grass reserve/median strip between two roads – where the plaintiff fell – was a pathway.

The original Judge based this on his view that council had “developed” the area with trees and grass, and because people walked across it from time to time.

While the Court of Appeal upheld the award of damages, they accepted our position that the site was in fact a ‘roadside’ and overturned the previous finding that the site was a ‘pathway’ thus preserving the roadside defence under the Road Management Act for road authorities.

As a mutual, MAV Insurance felt the issue was of tremendous importance to local government and chose to appeal the original decision for the benefit of all councils.

Further information will be provided to MAV Insurance members. If you are a MAV Insurance member and would like to discuss the details, contact John Smith on 9667 5589.