Ultimately, Ms Strong appealed to the High Court of Australia. The High Court upheld her appeal by a majority of 4 to 1. The majority found that the Court of Appeal had made an error when concluding that the chip could not have been on the ground long enough to be identified and removed by a ‘reasonable’ cleaning system instigated by Woolworths.
The Court could only find that the chip was dropped between 8:00am and 12:30pm and that there had obviously been a failure by Woolworths to provide a reasonable system of cleaning, which was ultimately the cause of Ms Strong’s fall.
This decision ultimately highlights the importance of cleaning and inspections of shopping centres. Specifically, the Court states that: “reasonable care require(s) the inspection and removal of slipping hazards at intervals not greater than 20 minutes.”
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