Mt Stromlo insurance dispute before High Court

  Mt Stromlo insurance dispute before High Court

28 April 2009

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Australia — A dispute between the Australian National University in Canberra and its insurance broker over damages from the 2003 bushfires will be heard in the High Court today.

The ANU’s Mount Stromlo Observatory to the west of Canberra was destroyed in the bushfires of January 2003.

The University took its three insurance companies to court and was awarded an undisclosed sum to pay for the repairs to the astronomy research site.

In 2007 the ACT Supreme Court granted the University permission to amend its claim so it could seek damages against its insurance broker, AON.

It argued that the money would cover the gap between the settlement with its insurers and the amount needed to rebuild the Observatory.

AON took its case to the ACT Court of Appeal, but lost.

The matter will now go before the High Court, where the company will argue it was an abuse of process for the University to seek damages after settling with other defendants.

In January 2003, four people were killed and more than 400 homes were destroyed when the fires swept through the nation’s capital.

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