Melissa Kirby, Sharpe & Abel’s legal director presented a webinar with Engineers Australia on 13 May at 5pm AEST, entitled ‘Giving a Dam – Corporate Liability and the Wivenhoe Class Action‘.  The focus of the presentation is the recent class action against the Queensland government and Sunwater, in a partial settlement over the operation of the Wivenhoe Dam.  The seminar used the complexity of the Wivenhoe Dam case to explore a number of subjects relevant to water and utility companies, including:

  • How technical issues can lead to legal vulnerability
  • The issue of vicarious liability (the water authorities and the Queensland Government were found to be vicariously liable for the negligence of the flood engineers they employed)
  • An exploration of the broader legal and reputational risks for water and other utility companies
  • Potential risk management strategies to help mitigate these risks.

The presentation slides can be found here.  If you participated in the seminar, and have anything you would like to discuss further, please get in touch, we are aware that there were lots of questions that we couldn’t get to, we are going to collate these and try to answer as many as possible.