Analytical Essay on Issues of Tort Law, Administrative Law, Contract Law, Corporation's Law

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1. Identify the areas of law that are relevant to the chosen media report, and explain how they are relevant to the matters outlined in the report.

This media report is based on the article from 31/07/2019 by Robyn Ironside “Widow sues CASA over Tiger Moth pilot’s fatal crash”

Tort Law

The main aspect of this article is that a pilot and passenger lost their lives as a result of a wrongful decision made when the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved unsafe parts for their plane; this falls under tort law. This law is extremely relevant to the widow’s case as the law of torts allows the ‘victim’ to recover damages from the person (or in this case organization) who has committed the tort (Graw, Stephen, David Parker, Keturah Whitford, Elfriede Sangkuhl, and Christina Do. Understanding Business Law. 3rd ed. 2017). It is stated in the article that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority approved the “safety critical” part of the aircraft that failed (Robyn Ironside), further enhancing that this incident falls under tort law.

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Administrative law

CASA is an administrative agency as it is a government-run body that has the authority to carry out the implementation of an act (or set of acts) of their country’s parliament (Joseph Vining 1992). The way CASA carries out and implements these laws and acts are relevant to administrative law. The purpose of this agency is to regulate Australian aviation safety and the operation of Australian aircraft overseas (CASA 1995). CASA explains in their “Who we are” section of their website that their role is described in the Civil Aviation Act 1988. Section 3A, paragraph 1 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 states, “ The main object of this Act is to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation, with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents”. There is clearly an administrative legal issue within this article, as CASA has not enforced the Civil Aviation Act by allowing unsafe aviation parts to be improperly assessed and passed as usable.

Contract Law

It is explained in the article that CASA had a hired engineer who approved the replacement tie rods. This falls under employment contract law the engineer had an employment contract that would have stated his job role. The contract would also allow the engineer to not be directly charged for the incident as it is stated that they were operating within a “CASA approved system” (Robyn Ironside). The engineer’s job obligations and CASA’S employment obligations (e.g. having systems in place to prevent employee accidents) within their contract allowed the engineer to have rights when incidents such as this one occur.

Corporation’s law

CASA as a company has to follow the rules and guidelines of the corporation’s law. This law enforces the obligation that companies, including CASA, have to work within the law. The article explains that CASA claims to follow the Civil Aviation Act 1995 which is a set of guidelines aviation companies have to work within to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those they are responsible for.

2. The law serves a number of different functions. It:

Ensures reasonable predictability in daily life;

As an employee, contracts ensure reasonable predictability within a working environment. Employee contracts are legally binding contract that allows employees to know their job obligations and rights. As an employer, these contracts give the reassurance that their staff will work within their stated guidelines and whatever else the job may entail. Therefore, contract law provides great reasonable predictability in day-to-day working life.

The article mentions an engineer who was hired by CASA to complete the role of (in this case) checking parts for aviation purposes. This contract allowed the engineer to have a formal guideline formed by their employer (CASA) to follow, which will ensure that the rights of the engineer are protected as long as the employee follows the contract, as they did.

Encourages and discourages certain conduct;

The law provides a guideline for how people and companies are expected and legally supposed to act. In regards to CASA, corporate law enforces that their mistake in approving unsafe aviation parts results in them being sued by the widow of the pilot. CASA being sued is an example of what would discourage certain conduct; in this case, it discourages wrongful approving and negligence when it comes to safety precautions.

This is also an example of encouraging certain conduct, as the law allows and encourages people to fight for what they believe is fair in order to get justice. In this case, the widow sues CASA for the negligence that caused her husband’s death.

Grants rights and powers to individuals and groups of people;

Administrative law governs the actions and decisions made of government decision-makers. Administrative law also allows individuals the right to appeal these decisions. The approved system that CASA was using during the time of the ‘Rae’ incident to assess aviation parts was proved to be inefficient and dangerous as it did not take into account other aspects that could hinder the part's reliability (ATSB 2013). Administrative law would then allow Mrs. Rae to appeal for a new system to be set in place that would guarantee a safer inspection and assessment of aviation parts, which gives future pilots and passengers a more assured right of safety.

Imposes obligations on individuals/organizations to meet their legal responsibility; • Allows for the enforcement of recognized rights and duties; and

The law of tort enforces these rights and duties. Tort law is defined as “acts or omissions by a tortfeasor that are not authorized by law and infringe another’s private or public rights” (Graw, Stephen, David Parker, Keturah Whitford, Elfriede Sangkuhl, and Christina Do. Understanding Business Law. 3rd ed. 2017). In the case of CASA, tort law recognizes that negligence on their behalf caused the death of Jimmy Rae (the pilot). Tort law enforces the widow’s rights to impose the obligation that CASA owes Mrs. Rae for the suffering they have caused her.

Provides remedies when an injustice has been done.

Tort law provides remedies for the individual or individuals that have suffered, by allowing the victim to receive payment or another form of remedy by the tortfeasor. When Jimmy Rae died as a result of CASA’s negligence, his widow then had the right to sue CASA as a result of her grief.

3. By reference to the legal issues contained in the chosen media report, explain why it was important for the relevant party/parties to know the law in the circumstances? How did, or could, the party/parties have applied the law to their advantage?

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority may have been acting within their approved systems at the time, however, it became apparent that these systems were not living up the standards of the Civil Aviation Act 1988, which is what they had assumed they were following. Although it wasn’t up to the standards, it was technically legally approved. If this corporation wasn’t following its legally approved system at the time then this incident would have been considered a criminal offense. As a result of their system, despite it not being the ultimate way to assess parts, it was approved and following the correct guidelines.

Through understanding their rights and obligations as a government organization, CASA was able to assure the court that they had done everything within their guidelines at the time and what was expected of them, to prevent incidents such as this.

Unfortunately however a death occurred as a result of a poorly approved system and this also gave the widow of the pilot the right to sue, as she had at least a basic understating of the law. The widow of the pilot applied tort law to her advantage when taking CASA to court. She understood her rights as someone who is suffering as a result of a negligent act and this allowed her to sue CASA.

4. How do the media influence public perceptions about the law and its administration? How might public pressure impact legislators and judges in establishing the law?

The media has the ability to present certain information to put across a specific argument. This can be quite difficult, as you never truly know if you are seeing the full story or just what they want you to see.

The people who get sucked into media and the power of its persuasion are the very same people who choose our lawmakers; the general public. The public has a say in who runs our country and who is in parliament. Media and public pressure/influence can have great effects on our establishment of law because those people in parliament voting for certain laws to be passed or not, are also human, and they can be just as easily deceived by false or minimal information.

The media’s strong influence can very easily change our perception on what is right or wrong on a subject, person, place, etc, and that can sometimes be a dangerous game. No matter who you are or how powerful someone is in the legal system, influence will always have a huge part to play in opinion.

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Analytical Essay on Issues of Tort Law, Administrative Law, Contract Law, Corporation’s Law. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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