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Duty of Care - Licensed Venues & Security

Connor Boccalatte
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31 May 2024

Chadwick v Bondi Beach Food Pty Ltd, Bondi Beach Food Pty Ltd v. Crossguard Group Pty Ltd [2023] NSWSC 197

This article examines the duty of care that venue operators and security guards owe to patrons, particularly regarding the potential negligence in failing to evict intoxicated individuals.


On 22 December 2017, Clinton Chadwick (‘the plaintiff’) visited The Bucket List Bondi (referred to as ‘the venue’), which is an establishment owned and operated by Bondi Beach Food Pty Ltd (‘the first defendant’). Crossguard Group Pty Ltd (‘the second defendant’) provided security services at the venue.

At the venue, the plaintiff was viciously assaulted by another patron who was severely intoxicated. The plaintiff suffered several injuries, including physical and psychological injuries, stiffness in his neck from time to time, and some scarring.

The perpetrator pleaded guilty to the assault and was not a defendant in the proceeding however, liability would have been easily established.


The plaintiff alleged that both defendants had breached their duty of care by failing to take precautions to ensure Mr Martin was controlled or evicted from the venue before the assault took place and the defendants should have intervened in the altercation to prevent the injuries from being sustained.

The defendants both denied liability and filed counterclaims against each other. The defendants also clamed the plaintiff contributed to his injuries by initiating physical contact.

The defendants also alleged the plaintiff was not incapacitated from working as he had continued to earn an income after the incident.


The Judge accepted that the second defendant, who was simply supplying security personnel requested by the venue, had not been delegated the duty by the first defendant. Rather, both defendants owed a duty of care towards patrons.

The central issue was whether the defendants were on notice that Mr Martin and his group of friends were a danger to other patrons in the venue and should have been controlled or evicted.

There was little doubt that Mr Martin’s group were noticed by the venue staff and the security guards. One staff member had acknowledged that Mr Martin had caused trouble from the moment he and his colleagues entered the venue and the staff member ‘simply failed to deal with them appropriately’. In addition, the owner of the venue had informed the security guards to ‘keep an eye’ on Mr Martin’s group.

Therefore, the Judge found both defendants equally liable and was satisfied that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendants’ breach of duty.


After reviewing the CCTV footage, the Judge concluded that although the plaintiff initiated the physical contact with Mr Martin, this did not infer that he was the instigator of the incident.

Instead, the Judge was satisfied that the plaintiff had experienced provocative comments from Mr Martin and his group of friends and reacted accordingly.

The Judge assessed there was 20% contributory negligence by the plaintiff in failing to ignore the taunts aimed at him by Mr Martin’s group.


Despite the defendants’ claims, the Court awarded damages as follows:

Non-economic loss $46,000.00
Past and future out of pocket expenses $7,000.00
Past economic loss $154,360.00
Past lost superannuation benefits $18,523.00
Future economic loss $25,000.00
Total $250,883.00

The Compensation Team at Wallace & Wallace Lawyers are experienced in all aspects of Compensation Law. If you have been injured in a licensed venue, you may be entitled to compensation.

We can assist you to determine if you are entitled to a claim for compensation. If you are dissatisfied with your current representation, our experts can also offer a second opinion.

If you, or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, at work, or due to someone else’s fault, or you want a second opinion, call us now on (07) 4963 2000 or contact us via our online contact form for practical legal advice on how you should proceed. We can assist.