Duty of a Professional Person

Duty of a Professional Person

Confirming what a duty of a professional person is or keeping the Courts in Business?

In Rogers v Whitaker (1992) 175 CLR 479, the High Court said:

In Australia, it has been accepted that the standard of care to be observed by a person with some special skill or competence is that of the ordinary skilled person exercising and professing to have that special skill. But that standard is not determined solely or even primarily by reference to the practice followed or supported by a responsible body of opinion in the relevant profession or trade … the Courts have adopted the principle that, while evidence of acceptable … practice is a useful guide for the Courts, it is for the Courts to adjudicate on what is the appropriate standard of care…’

This really does not give us a clear black and white position and many people will revert back what is the duty of a professional person in the comments by Windeyer J of the High Court of Australia in Voli v. Inglewood Shire Council (1963) 110 CLR 74.

These are generally accepted as a correct statement of the duty and standard of care of a professional person.  In that case when referring to an architect Windeyer J said:

‘An architect undertaking any work in the way of his profession accepts the ordinary liabilities of any man who follows a skilled calling.  He is bound to exercise due care, skill and diligence.  He is not required to have an extraordinary degree of skill or the highest professional attainments. But he must bring to the task he undertakes, the competence and skill that is usual among Architects practising their profession. And he must use due care. If he fails in these matters and the person who employed him thereby suffers damage, he is liable to that person. This liability can be said to arise either from a breach of his contract or in Tort’.