Civil Liability law in Queensland is an extremely dynamic field with a myriad of litigators seeking to interpret the statutes almost daily. One of the most significant recent cases is Maggs v RACQ Insurance Ltd  QSC 41 and Simon Cilento, an author for the Motor Vehicle Law Queensland subscription service has provided a thoughtful analysis of the judgment in relation to the recovery of fund management fees in dependency claims.
Torts – negligence – fatal accidents legislation – damages – measure of damages – particular heads of damages and factors in assessment – where applicant is a non sui juris – where the applicant is currently under five years of age – where applicant’s parents were killed in a vehicle accident – where the applicant’s claim for damages sustained as a result of the death of her parents was based on s 64 of the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld) – where the applicant brought an application for orders sanctioning terms of a settlement of the applicant’s claim for damages – where the settlement amount will be placed in trust and subject to management fees for an extended period – whether fund management fees properly fall within the damages resulting from the death of the applicant’s parents – whether the applicant is entitled to receive, as part of any damages award, a component by way of fund management fees
Facts: Maggs involved a four year old girl who brought a claim pursuant to s 64 of the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld) after her parents were killed in a motor vehicle accident. Although quantum was agreed between the parties, the issue remained as to whether or not administration or management fees fell within the damages resulting from her parents’ deaths.
The applicant submitted that such was an obvious sequelae of such a death, whereas the respondent, whilst conceding that fund management fees would be recoverable under the common law, argued that they were not recoverable under a statutory claim pursuant the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld).
Held: Boddice J found that there is no requirement under the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld) to pay administration or management fees where the dependant is under a legal disability due to age.
Comment: Boddice J referred to numerous cases on point (Horton v Byrne  St R Qd 1; 30 ALJ 583 at 585 (ALJ), Fox v Commissioner for Main Roads  1 Qd R 120 and Rouse v Shepherd (1994) 35 NSWLR 250) and came to the conclusion that management fees are not directly caused by the death. Rather, they are a matter that arises after the assessment of damages.
As this decision has the potential to apply to all Lord Campbell-type statutory dependency claims, it is more likely than not that this matter will be appealed.