Contributory Negligence Act 1947

Reprint
as at 1 February 1995

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Contributory Negligence Act 1947

Public Act1947 No 3
Date of assent14 August 1947
Commencement14 August 1947

Note

Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


An Act to amend the law relating to contributory negligence

1 Short Title
  • This Act may be cited as the Contributory Negligence Act 1947.

2 Interpretation
  • In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

    court, in relation to any claim, means the court or arbitrator by or before whom the claim falls to be determined

    damage includes loss of life and personal injury

    dependant means any person for whose benefit an action could be brought under the Deaths by Accidents Compensation Act 1952

    employer and worker have the same meaning as in the Workers' Compensation Act 1922 as amended by any subsequent enactment

    fault means negligence, breach of statutory duty, or other act or omission which gives rise to a liability in tort or would, apart from this Act, give rise to the defence of contributory negligence.

    Compare: Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 s 4 (UK)

    Section 2 dependant: amended, on 1 January 1953, pursuant to section 23(1) of the Deaths by Accidents Compensation Act 1952 (1952 No 35).

3 Apportionment of liability in case of contributory negligence
  • (1) Where any person suffers damage as the result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault of any other person or persons, a claim in respect of that damage shall not be defeated by reason of the fault of the person suffering the damage, but the damages recoverable in respect thereof shall be reduced to such extent as the court thinks just and equitable having regard to the claimant's share in the responsibility for the damage:

    provided that—

    • (a) this subsection shall not operate to defeat any defence arising under a contract:

    • (b) where any contract or enactment providing for the limitation of liability is applicable to the claim, the amount of damages recoverable by the claimant by virtue of this subsection shall not exceed the maximum limit so applicable.

    (2) Where damages are recoverable by any person by virtue of the last preceding subsection subject to such reduction as is therein mentioned, the court shall find and record the total damages which would have been recoverable if the claimant had not been at fault.

    (3) Section 17 of the Law Reform Act 1936 (which relates to proceedings against, and contribution between, joint and several tortfeasors), shall apply in any case where 2 or more persons are liable or would, if they had all been sued, be liable by virtue of subsection (1) in respect of the damage suffered by any person.

    (4) Where any person dies as the result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault of any other person or persons, and accordingly if an action were brought for the benefit of the estate under Part 1 of the Law Reform Act 1936, the damages recoverable would be reduced under subsection (1), any damages recoverable in an action brought for the benefit of the dependants of that person under the Deaths by Accidents Compensation Act 1952, shall be reduced to a proportionate extent.

    (5) Where, in any case to which subsection (1) applies, one of the persons at fault avoids liability to any other such person or his personal representative by pleading any enactment limiting the time within which proceedings may be taken, he shall not be entitled to recover any damages or contributions from that other person or representative by virtue of that subsection.

    (6) Where any case to which subsection (1) applies is tried with a jury, the jury shall determine the total damages which would have been recoverable if the claimant had not been at fault and the extent to which those damages are to be reduced.

    (7) [Repealed]

    Compare: Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 s 1 (UK)

    Section 3(4): amended, on 1 January 1953, pursuant to section 23(1) of the Deaths by Accidents Compensation Act 1952 (1952 No 35).

    Section 3(7): repealed, on 14 June 1967, by section 14 of the Carriage by Air Act 1962 (1962 No 19).

4 Provisions as to workers and employers
  • (1) Where, within the time limited for the taking of proceedings under the Workers' Compensation Act 1922, an action is brought to recover damages independently of that Act in respect of an injury or disease giving rise to a claim for compensation under that Act, and it is determined in that action that—

    • (a) damages are recoverable independently of that Act subject to such reduction as is mentioned in subsection (1) of section 3; and

    • (b) the employer would have been liable to pay compensation under the Workers' Compensation Act 1922,—

    section 52 of the Workers' Compensation Act 1922 (which enables the court, on the dismissal of an action to recover damages independently of that Act, to assess and award compensation under that Act) shall apply in all respects as if the action had been dismissed, and, if the claimant chooses to have compensation assessed and awarded in accordance with the said section 52, no damages shall be recoverable in the action.

    (2) The last preceding subsection shall apply, with the necessary adaptations, in any case where compensation is recoverable under a scheme certified under section 64 of the Workers' Compensation Act 1922 if the scheme applies section 52 of that Act, or contains any provision similar to that section.

    (3) Where a worker or his personal representative or dependant has recovered compensation under the Workers' Compensation Act 1922, or under any scheme certified under section 64 of that Act, in respect of an injury caused under circumstances which would give a right to recover reduced damages in respect thereof by virtue of section 3 of this Act from some person other than the employer (hereinafter referred to as the third party), any right conferred by section 50 of the Workers' Compensation Act 1922 on the person by whom the compensation was paid, to be indemnified by the third party shall be limited to a right to be indemnified in respect of such part only of the sum paid or payable by the said person as bears to the total sum so paid or payable the same proportion as the said reduced damages bear to the total damages which would have been recoverable if the worker had not been at fault.

    Compare: Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 s 2 (UK)

    Section 4(3): amended, on 1 September 1949, by section 12(2) of the Workers' Compensation Amendment Act 1949 (1949 No 11).

5 Saving for maritime rules and past cases
  • (1) This Act shall not apply to any claim to which section 94 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 applies, and that Act shall have effect in relation to every such claim as if this Act had not been passed.

    (2) This Act shall not apply to any case where the acts or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred before the passing of this Act.

    Compare: Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 s 3 (UK)

    Section 5(1): replaced, on 1 February 1995, by section 203 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 (1994 No 104).

6 Saving for claims in respect of death or injury of miners
  • This Act shall not apply to any proceedings under section 147 of the Coal Mines Act 1925 or section 295 of the Mining Act 1926.

7 Act to bind the Crown
  • This Act shall bind the Crown.

    Section 7: inserted, on 3 December 1948, by section 4 of the Statutes Amendment Act 1948 (1948 No 77).


Contents

  • 1General

  • 2Status of reprints

  • 3How reprints are prepared

  • 4Changes made under section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989

  • 5List of amendments incorporated in this reprint (most recent first)


Notes
1 General
  • This is a reprint of the Contributory Negligence Act 1947. The reprint incorporates all the amendments to the Act as at 1 February 1995, as specified in the list of amendments at the end of these notes.

    Relevant provisions of any amending enactments that contain transitional, savings, or application provisions that cannot be compiled in the reprint are also included, after the principal enactment, in chronological order. For more information, see http://www.pco.parliament.govt.nz/reprints/ .

2 Status of reprints
  • Under section 16D of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989, reprints are presumed to correctly state, as at the date of the reprint, the law enacted by the principal enactment and by the amendments to that enactment. This presumption applies even though editorial changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in the reprint.

    This presumption may be rebutted by producing the official volumes of statutes or statutory regulations in which the principal enactment and its amendments are contained.

3 How reprints are prepared
  • A number of editorial conventions are followed in the preparation of reprints. For example, the enacting words are not included in Acts, and provisions that are repealed or revoked are omitted. For a detailed list of the editorial conventions, see http://www.pco.parliament.govt.nz/editorial-conventions/ or Part 8 of the Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations and Deemed Regulations in Force.

4 Changes made under section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989
  • Section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 authorises the making of editorial changes in a reprint as set out in sections 17D and 17E of that Act so that, to the extent permitted, the format and style of the reprinted enactment is consistent with current legislative drafting practice. Changes that would alter the effect of the legislation are not permitted.

    A new format of legislation was introduced on 1 January 2000. Changes to legislative drafting style have also been made since 1997, and are ongoing. To the extent permitted by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989, all legislation reprinted after 1 January 2000 is in the new format for legislation and reflects current drafting practice at the time of the reprint.

    In outline, the editorial changes made in reprints under the authority of section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 are set out below, and they have been applied, where relevant, in the preparation of this reprint:

    • omission of unnecessary referential words (such as of this section and of this Act)

    • typeface and type size (Times Roman, generally in 11.5 point)

    • layout of provisions, including:

      • indentation

      • position of section headings (eg, the number and heading now appear above the section)

    • format of definitions (eg, the defined term now appears in bold type, without quotation marks)

    • format of dates (eg, a date formerly expressed as the 1st day of January 1999 is now expressed as 1 January 1999)

    • position of the date of assent (it now appears on the front page of each Act)

    • punctuation (eg, colons are not used after definitions)

    • Parts numbered with roman numerals are replaced with arabic numerals, and all cross-references are changed accordingly

    • case and appearance of letters and words, including:

      • format of headings (eg, headings where each word formerly appeared with an initial capital letter followed by small capital letters are amended so that the heading appears in bold, with only the first word (and any proper nouns) appearing with an initial capital letter)

      • small capital letters in section and subsection references are now capital letters

    • schedules are renumbered (eg, Schedule 1 replaces First Schedule), and all cross-references are changed accordingly

    • running heads (the information that appears at the top of each page)

    • format of two-column schedules of consequential amendments, and schedules of repeals (eg, they are rearranged into alphabetical order, rather than chronological).

5 List of amendments incorporated in this reprint (most recent first)
  • Maritime Transport Act 1994 (1994 No 104): section 203

    Carriage by Air Act 1962 (1962 No 19): section 14

    Deaths by Accidents Compensation Act 1952 (1952 No 35): section 23(1)

    Workers' Compensation Amendment Act 1949 (1949 No 11): section 12(2)

    Statutes Amendment Act 1948 (1948 No 77): section 4