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Love's Labour's Cost: The High Court Decision in Van Gervan vs. Fenton

Torts Law Journal, Vol. 1, pp. 122-136, 1993

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/97

16 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2008  

Reg Graycar

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: August, 21 2008

Abstract

Australian courts have been slow to recognise the gendered nature of aspects of the award of damages for personal injury. The decision of the High Court in Griffiths v. Kerkemeyer made it clear for the first time that damages could be recovered for the costs of care even where such care was provided 'gratuitously'. In Van Gervan v. Fenton, a majority of the High Court reaffirmed the broad principles established in that earlier case. This discussion examines the High Court decision in Van Gervan v. Fenton and scrutinises some of the gendered assumptions that emerge about women and their caring work. It is suggested that assumptions of this nature underlie judicial and legislative decision making in this context and result in failure to value caring work property in the context of damages assessment.

Keywords: tort law, personal injury, gender, damages assessment, caring work, women's work

JEL Classification: J16, J28, J30, J70, K10, K13, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Graycar, Reg, Love's Labour's Cost: The High Court Decision in Van Gervan vs. Fenton (August, 21 2008). Torts Law Journal, Vol. 1, pp. 122-136, 1993; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/97. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1243002

Reg Graycar (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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