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Australian Law Assignment
Latest Developments Highlighting Current Approach to Proximity
Recent developments have shown that the element of proximity in determining duty of care is being less and less favoured. One of the first cases in which this can be seen is that of Hill v Van Erp (1997) . Mrs Van Erp, the plaintiff, had been named beneficiary in the will of Mrs Currey. The will was drawn under the supervision of Ms Hill, the defendant. Ms Hill asked Mr Van Erp to witness the will. Mr Van Erp's signature meant that the will was invalid and therefore when Mrs Currey died the money went to Mrs Currey's son instead of Mrs Van Erp. Mrs Van Erp thus sued Ms Hill for negligence. By taking precedence on Jaensch v Coffey (1984), Deane J's two stage test was applied and it was found that Ms Hill did owe Mrs Van Erp a duty of care . Upon appeal to the High Court, only one of the six judges used the proximity test. The judges did decide in the favour of the plaintiff, however most of them maid there decision by either redefining proximity or not even taking proximity into consideration.
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