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4.4.8 Attendance at Social Occasions

Injury during social occasion may be defence-caused

Because of the need to create 'esprit de corps' in the services, it frequently happens that members are expected to attend occasions such as farewells and dining-in nights after the normal hours of duty. Accidents occurring at or on the way home from such occasions have been accepted as defence-caused by the AAT where it is clearly indicated that attendance at the function was a normal part of service life and the members did not increase the risk of being injured. Becoming intoxicated does increase the risk.

Example - injury not accepted as defence caused

A unit held a farewell gathering at the Sergeants Mess for one of the members who was leaving the unit. The main activities ceased about 8.00pm, but some members stayed on to play billiards. They continued to drink alcohol while they were playing. After leaving the Mess at midnight, the member was involved in an accident. The member was under the influence of alcohol. The injury would not be defence-caused as the attendance at the mess ceased to be related to the member's duty at 8.00pm. It was a personal choice of the member to stay on at the mess and the member increased the risk of an injury by staying at the Mess and continuing to drink.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal.



According to subsection 5D(1), an injury means any physical or mental injury (including the recurrence of a physical or mental injury) but does not include:

  • a disease, or
  • the aggravation of a physical or mental injury.