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Hackshaw V Shaw- Adelaide Chemical and Fertilizer

Question :

Tort in a legal way is a civil wrong, that means all the breach of contract and which makes the person suffering from any injury or damages will amount to tort. It mainly covers all the essential elements like negligence, injury, distress. Tort provides all the civil remedy that includes damages and compensation to the person who has suffered harm. One of the important element covered under tort and this case scenario is a test of reasonable foreseeability which means the ability of a person to check and foresee the danger that can arise in that meantime.

  • Explain Negligence and its various elements?
  • What are the impacts of this case in terms of negligence?
  • Explain the test of reasonable foreseeability?
Answer :


Negligence is an important element of tort as it is the breach of a legal duty that should be taken care of. The main reason behind negligence is that every person should be aware of the rights and the duties they have towards their work. In tort their consists of certain elements which are important for the negligence. The duty that means that person should do their duty with reasonable care, Breach all the act which implies the punishment as culpable commission, Damages if their arises any injury then that person will get the damages and causation means the injury to the plaintiff for all the omission or act. Reasonable foreseeability implies the injury or the brisk that is predictable and every person has the knowledge about that foreseen risk. This mainly links to the negligence as the person will they are aware of the risk still indulge in a reasonable act which can be foreseen and may cause harm to the person and creates injury to that individual. The court on this cases mainly provides specific terms that all the risk or injuries can be avoided if it is predictable and is known to the person and they have taken all the important measures to protect that rights or injuries.


Shaw is the owner of a farm where he has farming machinery underlying over their in which they use to store petrol. But on that night the petrol was stolen because of which Shaw made a decision to catch a thief who stole the petrol, so he laid inside the hay to catch the person red handed who has done that crime. Hackshaw and Cox were friends as he went to steal petrol and Hackshaw was also sitting in that stolen motor vehicle and Cox has turned off the headlights of the vehicle so than one may caught him from stealing the petrol. At that instance Shaw noticed the vehicle and fired two warning shots for alerting the thief and Hackshaw who was sitting on the front seat of the car was injured. It was clear that Shaw was not aware about Hackshaw being sitting in the car and he hit him unintentionally and unknowingly. Hackshaw asked for the compensation from Shaw for the injuries happened to him by that hitting.

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Issue raised

  • Did Shaw should have taken care before taking action in-spite of being knowing about the trespasser?
  • Did show breached the duty to take care as he shot Hackshaw from the rifle?
  • Will Hackshaw being also liable for the injuries happened to her on the trespassed land?


Deane J. held that, Even though their was a trespassing being done or the crime is being committed on the person's land but still it bis the legal duty to care of every individual. So even though the person has wrongfully entered in the premises and has tried to do mischief and theft in that area still it is the duty of defendant to take care before taking any action. It is the degree of proximity in relationship that necessary actions should be taken before occurring on any action. The forseeability of all this there implies the real injury to the visitor which created them a harm which can be foreseen. Thus, Shaw would have taken care before firing a pistol that their can be any person sitting in the car and would have made it quiet easy to work with in accordance to it. As negligence made by his side would have been avoided if he has foreseen the situation and has taken care of all the things happening.

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This case has made it way easy in all the dimensions that even though their might be occurring any harm from the person's side. And their has been a trespassing being made on that occupier's land, still it bis the sole duty of the occupier that they should take all the necessary steps before doing any act or work.

All the contract managers and the head of that area should be aware about the necessary steps that a person should have taken even in the illegal act in which a person trespass the area.

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