End of the line for Amaca v Werfel – more certainty for in situ end-users of asbestos products

Amaca Pty Limited v Werfel & Anor [2021] HCATrans 146 (10 September 2021)

The High Court refused special leave that there was an error in whether the duty to warn of in situ asbestos products failed to account for the indeterminacy of the class of persons at risk of harm and the period of the warning.

Leave was refused by Kiefel CJ:

“This matter raises the question whether a duty of care was breached by the applicant’s failure sufficiently to warn of dangers inherent in its product that was widely distributed. It falls to be resolved largely as a question of fact. No question of general principle arises. The matter does not warrant the grant of special leave. Special leave is refused, with costs.”

The trial decision in Werfel v AMACA v The State of South Australia [2019] SAET 159 and subsequent appeal AMACA Pty Ltd v Werfel [2020] SASCFC 125 are significant, especially for home renovators and those working with asbestos in situ.

David Cormack

Brisbane Barrister & Mediator

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