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Liability

Liability can arise in a range of ways, including:

liability under statute
liability in contract
liability in tort
liability in equity
criminal liability
vicarious liability.

Liability can also arise for a range of losses including personal injuries and economic loss.

Generally speaking, where one of the parties fails to keep their end of the agreement issues of liability for breach of contract can arise.

In the case of professionals, the test for liability applied depends on whether a claim is under common law or statute. For example, the Civil Liability Act sets out a standard of care for professionals, including medical professionals. Under common law, the standard applied is in Rogers v Whitaker.

Under the Civil Liability Act the standard applied can be summarised:

A professional does not breach a duty arising from the provision of a professional service if it is established that the professional acted in a way that (at the time the service was provided) was widely accepted by peer professional opinion by a significant number of respected practitioners in the field as competent professional practice.
However, peer professional opinion can not be relied on for the purposes of this section if the court considers that the opinion is irrational or contrary to a written law.
The fact that there are differing peer professional opinions widely accepted by a significant number of respected practitioners in the field concerning a matter does not prevent any one or more (or all) of the opinions being relied on for the purposes of the Act.
Peer professional opinion does not have to be universally accepted to be considered widely accepted.
This section does not apply to liability arising in connection with the giving of (or the failure to give) a warning, advice or other information, in relation to the risk of harm to a person, that is associated with the provision by a professional of a professional service.

It is generally accepted that the test in the Civil Liability Act is less strict than currently at common law. It is also provided for contracting out of the Act at section 7(3):

(3) This Act, other than chapter 3,3 does not prevent the parties to a contract from making express provision for their rights, obligations and liabilities under the contract (the “express provision”) in relation to any matter to which this Act applies and does not limit or otherwise affect the operation of the express provision.
Liability (including liability in contract) under the Associations Incorporations Act is described as follows:

27 Liability of members

A secretary, member of a management committee or member of an incorporated association as such, is not personally liable, except as provided in the rules of the incorporated association, to contribute towards the payment of the debts and liabilities of the incorporated association or the costs, charges and expenses of a winding-up of the incorporated association, beyond the property of the incorporated association in the person’s hands.