ACT News

Canberra bushfires legal battle ends

Canberra's largest single civil litigation has come to an end, after landholders decided not to lodge a High Court challenge to a failed bid for compensation in connection with the 2003 bush fires. Matthew Raggatt reports.

Canberra's largest single civil litigation has come to an end, after landholders decided not to lodge a High Court challenge to a failed bid for compensation in connection with the 2003 bushfires.

Brindabella farmer Wayne West, 65, has reportedly said he did not have the resources to pursue the marathon legal battle further.

The decision follows an ACT Court of Appeal verdict on November 1 which found theĀ NSW government could not be sued because the state's Rural Fires Act protected it from liability.

The court also found NSW did not owe landholders or Canberrans a duty of care.

The devastating bushfire ripped through Canberra's south-western suburbs on January 18, 2003, killing four people, injuring 435, and destroying 487 homes and 23 commercial and government buildings.

In December 2012, an ACT Supreme Court judge found NSW had adopted an "inadequate and defective strategy" to fight the fires.

But former Chief Justice Terence Higgins found NSW was not legally liable to pay compensation.

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