Court dismisses ANU bushfire damages bid

Court dismisses ANU bushfire damages bid

5 August 2009

published by

Australia — The High Court has dismissed an application by the Australian National University (ANU) to amend a damages claim against its insurance broker over the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

The bushfires destroyed property at the ANU’s Mount Stromlo complex including the observatory.

The ANU made claims against its three insurance companies and its insurance broker AON Risk Services.

After reaching a settlement with its insurers, the university was granted leave by the ACT Supreme Court to amend its claim against AON Risk Services.

The university claimed AON Risk Services acted negligently in failing to renew insurance over certain ANU properties.

It argued the damages would cover the gap between the settlement with its insurers and the amount needed to rebuild the observatory.

The broker took its case to the Court of Appeal but lost.

Today the High Court overturned that decision, ruling that the Court of Appeal had not followed proper procedure and had not given sufficient regard to some parts of the ANU’s application, including that it introduced new and substantial claims.

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