"
skip to Main Content

02 4050 0330

    • Medical Negligence
    • Women’s Health
          • Women’s Health

            We know that there is disparity in women’s health care, treatment, and support. We are committed to improving the lives of women and strongly advocating for their wellbeing.  That is why we take a stand and hold medical professionals accountable when medical care falls short of expected standards by delivering the best outcome in medical negligence claims affecting women.

            Read More

    • Hospital Negligence
          • Hospital Negligence

            We understand you may feel let down because you have experienced inadequate or negligent care and treatment in a hospital or medical facility. Your wellbeing is most important to us and we are committed to supporting you with compassion and holding medical professionals accountable for breach of duty and negligent care.

            Read More

    • Clinical Support
          • Clinical Support

            Experiencing poor or adverse outcomes from allied health treatment can be distressing and life changing. We are here to support you through your claim and it is our aim to hold allied health professionals accountable for their breach of care by delivering the outcome you deserve to your negligence claims.

            Read More

    • I need help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick discovery call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • Personal Injury
          • Personal Injury

            If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, our specialist team of Personal Injury Lawyers is here to support you with compassion and understanding providing you with the right advice. Our team has substantial experience and expertise in these matters to deliver the outcomes you deserve from your claim.

            Read More

    • Work Injury
    • Motor Vehicle Accidents
          • Motor Vehicle Accidents

            We are here to support you and give you the clarity, guidance and the right legal advice if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. Our compassionate team of professionals in Personal Injury law have the technical expertise and a wealth of experience to win you the compensation you deserve.

            Read More

    • Public Liability
          • Public Liability

            Our specialist team in Personal Injury law is here to support you in accessing proper compensation if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. We have cutting edge expertise and experience in public liability claims to deliver the outcome you deserve.

            Read More

    • Abuse
          • Institutional Abuse

            We strongly believe that educational institutions must be held accountable when failing to protect children while in their care. If you have experienced institutional physical or sexual abuse, our specialist team in Personal Injury law is here to support you with compassion and offer our technical expertise and experience to deliver the best outcome in your case.

            Read More

    • Workers Compensation
          • Workers Compensation

            When you sustain an injury or illness because of work, you may be entitled to  compensation. Our specialist team in Personal Injury Law is here to support you with compassion and understanding with the right advice. We have substantial technical expertise to deliver the best possible outcome from your claim.

            Read More

    • School Negligence
    • I Need Help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick discovery call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • Wills & Estate Planning
          • Wills and Estates

            When we provide advice on estate planning, we believe  in giving advice on options to mitigate the risks of litigation by potentially unhappy family members and protecting your assets from claims. Our legal team is here to support you and address your concerns regarding your estate planning. We have immense experience in these matters, providing you with advice and representation for your unique situation and delivering the best outcomes for your case.

            Read More

    • Powers of Attorney
    • Contest A Will
          • Contest A Will

            We have immense experience and specialised knowledge in family provision and wills disputes Where you have not been properly and adequately provided for under a will or where you suspect that the person making the will may not have had capacity or exercised their own free will, you need a lawyer with extensive experience and expertise. Our team of Lawyers will  provide you with advice and representation for your unique situation and deliver the best outcomes for your case.

            Read More

    • Probate & Deceased Estates
    • Enduring Guardian
    • Family Provision
    • I Need Help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick discovery call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • Other Services Overview
          • Conrad Curry Can assist you with a variety of services

            Our solicitors are highly experienced in providing you with expert legal advice and will keep you informed every step of the way. It’s good to know that our firm is trusted and effective with a high success rate.

            Read More

    • Professional Negligence
          • Professional Negligence

            We rely on professionals in all aspects of our lives to provide us with proper advice on which to make decisions about our financial and legal affairs. When you are let down by poor advice the results can be devastating.  We are here to support you in your claim for compensation with clarity, guidance and the right advice to achieve the outcome you deserve.

            Read More

    • Malicious Prosecution
          • Malicious Prosecution

            We believe in standing up for those people who are falsely accused and prosecuted. Our experienced legal team is here to support you with compassion and provide you with clarity, guidance, and the right advice in your claim for compensation.

            Read More

    • General Litigation
    • I Need Help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick discovery call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • What to Expect
          • What to expect

            We are your law firm for life. You can count on us for the best legal advice and compassionate support. We understand the challenges you are facing and we want you to know that you don’t have to navigate the often daunting process alone. We are here when you need us. Let us help you find your way forward with our empathetic and efficient approach. Contact us. You can call us on (02) 4050 0330 for a free initial no-obligation consultation or book an appointment online for an in-person consultation or an online video appointment.

  • No Win/No Fee Options

Trustees of the De La Salle Brothers

Trigger Warning: This case note contains references to subject matter and material that may be traumatising and/or upsetting for survivors of sexual assault, as well as their families. Reader discretion is advised.

SR, the plaintiff, filed a lawsuit against the De La Salle Revesby school (“the defendant”) in March 2021. The plaintiff alleged that he had been sexually abused multiple times by a teacher and groundskeeper at the defendant’s school, Mr Eron Swain. The alleged sexual abuse took place in 1983/1984 while the plaintiff was in Year 6 at the school. As a result of the abuse, the plaintiff suffered complex PTSD and depressive disorder, chronic anxiety, and enduring post-traumatic personality change. While Mr Swain had passed away by the time the plaintiff commenced legal proceedings, his presence wasn’t required in order for there to be a fair trial.

But why?

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant school had prior notice of Mr Swain’s tendency to abuse children. He alleged that two parents had complained about Mr Swain’s criminal conduct before the plaintiff was abused. The plaintiff further alleged that the principal in 1975, Brother Julian, had also been informed that Mr Swain was interfering with children. Brother Julian subsequently investigated, but ultimately decided that it would be safer for Mr Swain to stay at the school as they knew and could monitor him. In light of the above, the plaintiff argued that the defendant was vicariously liable for Mr Swain’s sexual abuse of him.*

*Vicarious liability is legal principal whereby one legal entity (e.g. the defendant’s school) is held responsible for the acts and/or omissions of another (e.g. Mr Swain).

Even if Mr Swain had been alive at the time the plaintiff commenced court proceedings, it is highly likely that the defendant school would still have been joined as a defendant. While it would have been more straightforward had Mr Swain been alive – given he was directly liable for the intentional wrongful acts perpetrated against the plaintiff – it is uncommon for individuals to have enough money and/or assets to satisfy a court’s judgment. In other words, even if a judgment was entered in favour of the plaintiff, Mr Swain would not have had the means to pay the judgment sum.

Survivors pursuing compensation will often join an institution/organisation as a defendant in legal proceedings if they can establish that the institution/organisation was arguably vicariously liable for the intentional, wrongful acts of a person entrusted with the care of vulnerable persons. This is often a necessary step, not only to hold that institution/organisation to account for its role in allowing the abuse, but also because such institutions/organisations usually have the means to pay the relevant award of damages or settlement sum..

One of the primary issues considered by Justice Cavanaugh in this case was whether the plaintiff had suffered abuse perpetrated by Mr Swain. Her Honour considered that the plaintiff had in fact suffered the abuse that he had described, and additionally noted: “…

The evidence is overwhelming to the effect that Mr Swain was abusing boys in the primary school in the 1980s, and well before”.

As it was accepted that the abuse had occurred, on the balance of probabilities, the next issue was whether the defendant could be held vicariously liable for this subject abuse. Justice Cavanaugh decided that the defendant was vicariously liable due to the following:

  1. The defendant had placed Mr Swain in this position of teacher and groundskeeper, which enabled him to hold power, trust and control over the plaintiff as a young student;
  2. Mr Swain then used this position to make the plaintiff attend secluded places with him. Without the position, the plaintiff may not have attended;
  3. This position and Mr Swain’s invitations provided the opportunity and the occasion for Mr Swain to then abuse the plaintiff; and
  4. The defendant had prior notice and was aware that Mr Swain had been interfering with young boys before the plaintiff was abused by him – and therefore knew that Mr Swain may use his position to continue to abuse children.

One of the final issues was how damages should be assessed – namely, how much should the plaintiff receive in compensation from the defendant for the sexual abuse he suffered as a child? It was determined that he would receive a total of $1,145,515.10 for general and aggravated damages, past and future economic loss, and treatment expenses.

Although no amount of money can truly compensate for the devastating impact of child sexual abuse, we consider that the plaintiff, SR (a pseudonym) should be very proud that he has held the defendant to account and been awarded significant compensation.

This outcome demonstrates that institutions which fail to protect the children in their care will be held accountable and liable for their inaction. We expect that many more survivors of child sexual abuse will obtain the compensation they are owed.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by institutional child sexual abuse, we encourage you to explore your potential entitlement to compensation and welcome you to contact us for an obligation-free initial consultation.

Recent Articles

Stay Updated With Legal News
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.