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Robertson v Balmain New Ferry Co. Ltd
Transcript of Robertson v Balmain New Ferry Co. Ltd
Material Facts Robertson V. Balmain New Ferry Co. Ltd • The appellant ran a business involving the travel of harbour stream ferries between Sydney and Balmain.
• Fares were collected at the Sydney wharf side through the operation of two turnstiles, one for entry and the other for exit.
• Each turnstile required the payment of 1 penny and were located on the street side of the Sydney wharf, with a small gap of approximately 8.5-inches located between the turnstiles and the wall.
• Two officers were employed to collect the fare
• A notice was hung in clear view on entry to the wharf that read "Notice. A fare of one penny must be paid on entering or leaving the wharf. No exception will be made to this rule, whether the passenger has travelled by the ferry or not".
• A photograph exhibited that a gas lamp was used at night to illuminate the sign; however there is no evidence to show that said lamp was lit on the night of the occurrence.
• The evening of the 5th of June 1906 the respondent entered the appellant’s business intending to catch a ferry to Balmain
• They paid the due fare at the Sydney side entry turnstile.
• They wished to depart and use a different service and were told by an officer that the only way out involved the payment of another penny through the turnstile
• The respondent tried to force their way through the 8.5-inch gap without payment and was stopped by the officer.
• Despite opposing force, the respondent gained access to the street through the gap. Legal issues - Do the material facts of the case constitute false imprisonment?
- Was the jury’s finding based on a valid analysis of the material facts? What is the ratio decidendi?
Is there any significant obiter dicta? Decision / Outcome & Legal Reasoning Can you extrapolate from this case a generalisable statement of law which will apply to future similar cases? - Volenti non fit injuria - injury consented to is no injury at all.
- Consent, express or implicit is a complete defence for the Tort of False Imprisonment. High Court of Australia 1906 Griffith C.J. Barton & O’Connor J.J. 1. He could've swum, or paid up! (Add a shot of Uncle Scrooge diving into a mountain of gold for win)
2. He was aware of the Company's rules, having ridden the ferry often.
3. He couldn't simply abandon the implied contract and expect to walk away a free man without paying! Ratio Decidendi
- The material facts of the case do not constitute a total deprivation of liberty
- To the degree that liberty was deprived, it was done with lawful justification
- Total deprivation of liberty is not a sustainable claim if reasonable means of escape, through the completion of one’s contract or otherwise, are readily available
- It is legal to enter into a contract involving the temporary surrender of a portion of one’s liberties
- A person involved in said contract is not necessarily entitled to the immediate cessation of this contract, and subsequently is not necessarily entitled to his liberties at once