Invercargill City Council v Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust (CA)
This is a professional liability case concerning the collapse of the Stadium Southland’s roof under heavy snowfall in 2010. Southland Stadium won in the High Court with the court finding that the council had been negligent when it issued the code compliance certificate and that caused Southland Stadium’s loss.
The Court of Appeal distinguished the circumstances of the case from the rule in Spencer on Byron. In this case the court held that the council assumed a different and lesser duty, that of checking that an appropriately qualified person had supplied adequate evidence that the consent conditions had been met. It also found that the council had breached the narrower duty, but had not caused the loss. Southland Stadium needed to prove it had relied on the code compliance certificate in 2006 when it became alarmed by the behaviour of the roof under wind load and decided that investigation and remedial action were warranted despite code compliance.
The High Court’s $14.4m award of damages has been overturned by the Court of Appeal and the council is entitled to its costs in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.