The Financial Liability of Park Managers for Visitor Injuries
Protected-area management agencies are sometimes sued by visitors injured during recreational activities. The legal context for such actions and hence the likely outcomes differ considerably between countries and jurisdictions. A review of litigation in Australia suggests that it is currently possible to predict precisely how a claim will be resolved. Recent case-law seems to recognize the dilemma facing park managers in fulfilling their broad-ranging statutory functions. There may be a modest shift away from the 'land manager as quasi-insurer' approach of the early 1900s, with several decisions recognizing the need for greater personal responsibility on the part of visitors. These trends cannot be relied upon, however, in an uncertain legal environment, where no-win/no-fee arrangements drive speculative litigation. Alternative approaches include the enactment of statutory immunities or the establishment of statutory compensation schemes that replace common-law avenues.
Nature-Based Tourism, Environment and Land Management