Full Court Minute Books

Case M82/2023

Bird v. DP (A Pseudonym)

Case No.

Case no M82/2023

Case Information

Lower Court Judgment

03/04/2023 Supreme Court of Victoria (Court of Appeal) (Beach, Niall & Kaye JJA)

[2023] VSCA 66


Torts – Personal Injury – Sexual assault – Vicarious liability – Where trial concerned allegations of sexual assaults against respondent by Catholic Priest in 1971, when respondent was five years of age – Where respondent sued Diocese of Ballarat through current Bishop, who was nominated defendant – Where respondent’s negligence case failed, but appellant, representing Diocese, found to be vicariously liable for Priest’s sexual assaults – Whether Court of Appeal erred in holding that appellant could be vicariously liable for tortfeasor’s wrong where express finding that tortfeasor not in employment relationship with appellant and was no finding that tortious conduct occurred as part of any agency relationship between tortfeasor and appellant – Where in circumstances Court finds relationship between appellant and tortfeasor gives rise to relationship of vicarious liability, whether Court of Appeal erred in concluding, based on general and non-specific evidence accepted, that conduct of tortfeasor was conduct for which appellant ought be liable as having provided both opportunity and occasion for its occurrence.


20/10/2023 Hearing (SLA, Canberra by video connection)

03/11/2023 Notice of appeal

15/12/2023 Written submissions (Appellant)

15/12/2023 Chronology (Appellant)

09/02/2024 Written submissions (Respondent)

23/02/2024 Reply

14/03/2024 Hearing (Full Court, Canberra) (Audio-visual recording)

14/03/2024 Outline of oral argument (Appellant)

14/03/2024 Outline of oral argument (Respondent)