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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: What if you were responsible for planning an excursion in an aged care facility? What sorts of things should you be on the lookout for?

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds ROSS HYAMS: You want to make sure that whatever you are doing it was appropriate for the people that you are taking out. So if it’s an aged care facility, you’re not going to go trampolining, for example. You’re going to be doing something that is appropriate for what they can do, and that’s not going to subject them and yourself to too much risk. If you’re going for a picnic, watch the weather, for example. You don’t want a whole lot of people caught out in a terrible storm.

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 seconds If you’re going to be doing an activity that requires physical activity, match it to the ability of the people that you’re taking out, so that you don’t put them in a situation of risk and put yourself in a situation of risk.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: What sort of emergency planning can we undertake, in case things don’t go well?

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds ROSS HYAMS: Well you have to make sure you have a plan B. So if you’re going to go for a picnic and it’s going to rain, make sure that you find an indoor area. And plan that ahead. Don’t just think about it when you’re there. It’s about, what I would call, due diligence– being diligent in trying to plan for all possible consequences, and, again, reducing the risk factors of the people you’re going to be looking after.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: What are your legal obligations, and who could you ask for advice?

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds ROSS HYAMS: Your legal obligations are to maintain a high standard of care and to reduce the risks associated with it. And, of course, the person to ask is a lawyer. So if you’re in a situation where you’re worried about the level of risk that you’re going to be approaching, if you’re worried about the activity that you’re trying to plan and you think there may be risks, you really should get some advice about all the possible consequences to the people that you’re going to be looking after and to you if things go wrong.

Skip to 1 minute and 47 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: From a legal perspective, why is maintaining an awareness or understanding of guidelines or best practise standards in your industry appropriate?

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds ROSS HYAMS: You need to make sure that the standard that you are working to is the most appropriate and the most up-to-date standard, there’s no point putting yourself in a situation where you’re dealing with old law, for example, or old guidelines. And it’s a question of being competent. It’s a duty of competence– is probably the best way to describe it. So you need to be up-to-date with the thing that you’re working through. Because if you’re out-of-date, you can be accused of being negligent. And you can be accused of not maintaining the high standards that are available now. So it’s really a question of basic competence, of being up-to-date with your understanding of your requirements and your obligations.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: Great. Thanks, Ross.

The Ross Hyams Perspective

Ross Hyams is an educator and law practitioner. Here, Ross shares with Lloyd his unique perspective on the essential things you need to know about torts law.

The case studies and analyses explored our legal duty to our ‘neighbour’ to take care in our actions that could place them in harm’s way. We also know that the ‘standard of care’ the law expects is measured against a range of factors, including: probability, gravity, social utility and practicality.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen. But, by thinking about and taking steps to minimise and avoid accidents, you can use these four factors to assist reduce the amount of risk in a given situation.

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Go to Downloads to access a checklist of torts law essentials or See also for links to resources that relate to this topic.

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This video is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University