Commonsense causation

Although not a medical treatment claim, today’s Australian High Court decision in Comcare v Martin [2016] HCA 43 is of interest for the Court’s comments on commonsense causation.

French CJ, Bell, Gaegler, Keane and Nettle JJ expressed doubt as to the utility of the concept of commonsense causation at [42], saying that:

Causation in a legal context is always purposive. The application of a causal term in a statutory provision is always to be determined by reference to the statutory text construed and applied in its statutory context in a manner which best effects its statutory purpose. It has been said more than once in this Court that it is doubtful whether there is any “common sense” approach to causation which can provide a useful, still less universal, legal norm.



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