find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Website warnings after UK case

Website warnings after UK case

Australian website owners have been warned to include disclaimers on their site or risk being sued for millions of dollars following a recent UK decision.The UK case, Pratchett v Swimming Pool…

Australian website owners have been warned to include disclaimers on their site or risk being sued for millions of dollars following a recent UK decision.

The UK case, Pratchett v Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association, involved an online recommendation made by a builder who later became insolvent. McCullough Robertson partner Partner at McClullough Robertson David Downie told Lawyers Weekly that the court's decision confirms the possibility that website owners owe a duty of care to visitors and may be liable if they are negligent.

While UK decisions are not binding on Australian courts, judges could still look to them for guidance, which could have far reaching ramifications, Downie said.

"Website owners could potentially be sued for millions of dollars if a user relied on information contained on their website which resulted in significant losses," he said.

"Under Australian law, the complainant would have to establish there is a duty of care, which is more likely to be inferred if a statement on the website is going to be relied upon by a particular class of users."

Following publicity from the UK case, Downie said inquiries from businesses wanting to protect their websites from liability had increased, and he also predicted that litigation would rise due to the number of people relying on information from the internet.

Downie said website owners can take steps to reduce the risk of a duty of care being assumed.

"My advice is firstly to be responsible in relation to content that is on websites, and secondly to put in place prominent disclaimers of responsibility and urge visitors to your website to perform their own checks as to the accuracy of the information on the website," he said.

TIPS FOR DISCLAIMERS

- State that you are not assuming a duty of care in connection with the website

- Make it clear that users should not rely on the information being provided

- Suggest that users should independently verify the information

- State that you are not liable for loss or damage suffered by the user in connection with the website

- Sarah Sharples

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Website warnings after UK case
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...