• John Stirk

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For 20 years, readers of the Centralian Advocate looked forward to the Friday edition. Therein Povey Stirk Lawyers published a 300 word tale of fiction based on legally newsworthy events.

The following is a sample of these blogs


7 November 2019


Jack was the unfortunate victim of a break-in at his house in Alice Springs. However, the burglar had hurt himself while smashing a window and a blood trail was present. Jack’s neighbours had told him that they had all watched CSI Miami and that he would be in big trouble and would have to pay the bad guy damages.


Jack decided to get some legal advice as he had had a few sleepless nights.

His lawyer told him that he had no such exposure and the Northern Territory Parliament had passed legislation in 2003 which made it crystal clear that no such liability arose.

There were a number of other urban myths tidied up by the legislation. One is that an expression of regret does not create any legal liability; another is that restaurants have liability for people who remove food from the premises.


Fred had travelled interstate and decided he needed to take the remainder of the meal that he had paid for back to his accommodation. Giuseppe the waiter told him that was not possible. He said it was unlawful for the food to be taken off premises. Fred’s response was that as he had paid for the food, he was entitled to take it home. Fred told Giuseppe that certainly was not the case in Alice Springs.


The legal position is that there can be liability for a seller or manufacturer of food if it can be established that there was a breach of their duty of care. Similar principles arise where food is purchased as part of a contract. For any liability to arise, there would have to be evidence that there was a causal link between whatever medical condition was suffered by a consumer and the food that had been purchased. That would often involve expert testimony as to how the food had been stored after it left the restaurant or sale point. Some interstate restaurants have decided it is simply easier to say that it is unlawful for food to be removed. While it is not the legal position, it is a way of avoiding a future claim.

Disclaimer: This document provides general information and is not legal advice. While we endeavour to ensure the information is correct at the date of publication, laws frequently change. If anything in this post is relevant to you, please contact us for advice on your specific situation