HACKSHAW V. SHAW [1984] 155 CLR 614

High Court of Australia – 11 December 1984


Shaw was the owner of a farm where petrol was stored for farming machinery. The petrol was being stolen at night and Shaw decided to ambush the next thief of petrol. He therefore lay in wait near the petrol tank.

Hackshaw was in a stolen motor vehicle with Cox when Cox drove into Shaw’s farm, with the headlights turned off, and started stealing petrol. Shaw fired two warning shots at the car and hit Hackshaw who was in the front seat.

It was accepted that Shaw had not known that Hackshaw was in the car. Hackshaw sued Shaw seeking compensation for her injuries.


  1. Did Shaw owe a duty of care despite her being a trespasser on his hand?
  2. Had Shaw breached a duty of care to Hackshaw when he shot his rifle at the car?
  3. Was Hackshaw pertly liable for her injuries by trespassing on the land?


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