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Copyright (c) 2002 Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law
Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law


+ This paper was first published in Australia in (2001) 9 Torts Law Journal 131 under the title "The Sport Administrator's Charter: Agar v. Hyde.' This paper appears in the Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law, in its original format, with the kind permission of the Torts Law Journal.


12 Seton Hall J. Sports L. 199


Hayden Opie*


Sport can be a risky business, especially if it entails vigorous contact as in rugby.
When two teenage males suffered quadriplegia in rugby scrums, they alleged that the international rule-making body for the sport had breached a duty of care by not amending the rules of play to remove unnecessary risks. The High Court rejected this novel claim saying that rule-making bodies of sport owe no such duty. A number of reasons were given to support this conclusion, but perhaps the most important was the plaintiffs' acceptance of the inherent risks of the sport by virtue of their voluntary participation. This note challenges much of the court's reasoning and maintains that a limited duty of care requiring response to advances in knowledge of risks should be recognised. It was arguable that the risk causing the injuries was not one that was relevantly "inherent" because knowledge of it was limited, yet reasonably available to the defendants but not to the plaintiffs or others like them.

Last Saturday, while playing interschool rugby, my brother's body was destroyed. The fifth vertebra in his neck was broken and his spinal cord has been damaged. At this point, it is probable that he will be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.

My brother is only 16 years old. It was only his second game of rugby. I do not understand how such a dangerous activity can be allowed let alone be allowed to continue.

My headmaster at ...
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