Class Actions, Crown Negligence, Immunities and Epidemics on Trial
Latu, Alex; Young, Stephen
Publisher: Lexis Nexis
Published in: New Zealand Law Journal
Rights Statement: uncertain.
Keywords: Class Actions; Crown Negligence; Negligence; Crown Immunities; Public Authorities; Epidemics; Border Control; Kiwifruit
Research Type: Journal Article
Might the Crown be held liable for permitting the incursion of a contagious disease into New Zealand, resulting in epidemic spread and significant economic loss? Should it be liable? While these questions might attract interest due to New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, and on-going outbreaks related to border controls, the Court of Appeal recently answered this question regarding a bacterial disease (Psa3) affecting kiwifruit in Attorney-General v Strathboss Kiwifruit Ltd  NZCA 98. In Strathboss the Court of Appeal found that the Crown was immune from liability in tort for the spread of the Psa3 bacterium amongst kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand, from 2010. This case is foremost a consideration of Crown immunity in tort, and secondarily an analysis of negligence. As the Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal on broad grounds (Strathboss Kiwifruit Ltd v Attorney-General  NZSC 68), we highlight aspects of the decision that require further scrutiny and clarification.
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