Peter is a real estate developer. He develops residential apartment complexes in the Wollongong local area. He purchases a large block of land for $2 million and plans to build a large apartment complex on the block at a considerable profit. But Wollongong Council denies his development application on the basis of a road widening proposal that will substantially reduce the size of the block. This road widening proposal reduces the value of the block of Peter’s land to $1 million.
Peter reads the council certificate he obtained from Wollongong Council before he purchased the block of land. If the block of land had been subject to a road widening proposal then it should have been disclosed by Wollongong Council in the certificate. There is no such disclosure in the certificate. As Peter didn’t bother to read the certificate before he purchased the land, he is relieved to find the council has made this mistake. He secretly knows that if Wollongong Council had been careful and included the road widening disclosure in the certificate, he would not have seen it and gone ahead with the land purchase anyway.
Peter now wants to sue Wollongong Council in negligence for economic loss. Wollongong Council claims that negligence only applies to physical actions, not written words, and is only applicable to physical damage to people or their property, not economic loss.
1). Did Wollongong Council have a duty of care against Peter?
2). Was the duty breached by Wollongong Council due to non-fulfilment of the standard of care?
3). Is the damages of Peter directly caused due to actions of Wollongong Council?
4). Does the defence of contributory negligence applied in this scenario?
5). Does the defence of voluntary assumption of risk applied in this scenario?
6). Can Peter demand damages from Wollongong Council for economic loss suffered by him?