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3.2.4 'Arose out of or was attributable to service'

Paragraphs 27(b) and 28(1)(b) of the MRCA provides that an injury, disease or death is to be taken to be a service injury, service disease or service death if the injury, disease or death arose out of, or was attributable to, any defence service rendered by the person while a member.

In order to establish that an injury, disease, or death arose out of or was attributable to the person's defence service, a causal relationship must be established between the service and the relevant condition.  This head of liability does not require service to be an 'immediate', 'direct' or 'proximate' cause [Repatriation Commission v Law (1980) 47 FLR 57 at 68].  Nor is service required to be the 'sole', 'dominant' or 'real' cause.  In other words, it is wrong to say that service must be 'the' cause of the injury, disease or death.  It merely has to be 'a' cause.

However, when it is said that service must be a cause, it is not enough that service is the circumstance in or on which the cause operates.  Service must have caused the relevant circumstance and not merely be the setting in which the circumstance occurred [Repatriation Commission v Tuite (1993) 29 ALD 609].  If the causal factor is something that occurs in everyday life, as well as in a service context, the circumstances of service must have made a special contribution over and above that of the person's everyday life [Repatriation Commission v Bendy (1989) 18 ALD 144].