Richard Douglas QC appeared before Fraser and Philippides JJA and Bowskill J for the appellant in this matter.
Mrs Roane-Spray had been injured when one end of the stretcher she was on collapsed while being lifted out of the ambulance by a paramedic. She sued the appellant, as employer of the paramedic, for negligence in the District court and the appellant was found to be vicariously liable for the conduct of the paramedic.
The State had contended that it was entitled to the benefit of the immunity conferred upon certain entities performing duties to enhance public safety, in circumstances of emergency, by s 27 of the Civil Liability Act 2003. The primary judge found that the State was not a prescribed entity as required by s 27. The state appealed against that finding.
The prescribed entities are contained in schedule 2 to the Civil Liability Regulation 2003 and include the Queensland Ambulance Service established under the Ambulance Service Act 1991. The appellant argued that the Queensland Ambulance Service is an emanation of the Crown in right of the State of Queensland and therefore the reference in schedule 2 should be read as “Queensland Ambulance Service in right of the State”.
The court found that the Queensland Ambulance Service was an unincorporated body and did not represent the State. The court observed that it is in the public interest to protect the entity, comprising the officers, from litigation and liability when performing services to enhance public safety. However, there was no basis for reading s 27 as removing vicarious liability of the State as employer of the paramedic.
See judgment here: https://www.sclqld.org.au/caselaw/QCA/2017/245