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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Writing your answer


Once you have written your plan, you need to turn this into your answer. There should be one main legal issue per paragraph. Each main issue needs to demonstrate appropriate application of the law to the facts of the case.

Here is the paragraph outline for Bert v Groovy Clothing Store, an example from negligence.

1. Establishes negligence as the area of law relevant to the facts


  • involves establishment of duty of care (DOC)
  • breach of DOC
  • breach DOC→damages to Bert


2. Duty of care — establishes whether a duty of care was owed Bert from Groovy Clothing Store

Lord Atkin's neighbour test
Apply law to the facts:

  • Foreseeability — Reasonably foreseeable that Groovy Clothing Store action / omissions could cause damage to Bert→Groovy Clothing Store owes Bert a duty of care Australian Safeway Stores v Zaluzna [1987] HCA 7
  • Salient features of the care are consistent with the existence of a duty of care: Zaluzna's case


3. Breach in standard of duty of care

  • Establish standard owed to entrants of a store of a reasonable, ordinary, prudent occupier
  • Foreseeability of harm — apply to the facts
    • opening crowd
    • too many people on stairs
    • No warning to shoppers
    • →Breach of duty of care to Bert Bolton v Stone, Mercer's case [1951] 1 All ER 1078.


4. Defences

Contributory negligence of Bert
Apply law to the facts:

  • failure of Bert to take care of himself on the stairs
  • reasonable foreseeability of an accident Wyong Shire Council v Shirt [1980] HCA 12


5. Damages

  • Damages reasonably foreseeable — apply law to the facts
    • Groovy Clothing Store liable for damages Wagon Mound Cases
  • Causation 'but for' test — apply law to the facts
    • 'But for' the breach, the damages ie Bert's hospitalisation and injuries would not have occurred Cork v Kirby MacLean LTD [1952] 2 AII ER 402 [1998] HCA 55