High Court speaks on accrual of cause of action for negligence in pure economic loss case

On Friday, the High Court published a near unanimous judgment in Commonwealth of Australia v Cornwell [2007] HCA 16 on the accrual of a cause of action for negligence in which pure economic loss was claimed. I am yet to read the judgment properly, however it is apparent that a cause of action in negligence was found to have accrued decades after the parallel contractual cause of action, which was complete upon breach of a duty of care owed by the Commonwealth to the plaintiff in 1965. Callinan J dissented, saying the cause of action was well and truly statute barred. Neither of the decisions discussed in recent posts, in which a defendant-friendly approach was taken, Winnote v Page, or Jessup v Wetherell, are considered in the decision.

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