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26.4 Alcohol Related Injuries - 1971 and 1930 Acts


Neither the 1971 Act nor the 1930 Act contain a specific provision formally deeming accidents involving the influence of alcohol or a drug to be 'serious and wilful misconduct' in the terms of S4(13) of the SRCA.

However, it is expected that Delegates, faced with a pre-88 claim in which the causative element included the influence of alcohol, would nevertheless deny the claim except in extraordinary circumstances. In most cases, the grounds for such a dismissal would be 'serious and wilful misconduct'.

Note that Delegates have the discretion under all three Acts to form their own judgement as to what acts and circumstances constitute 'serious and wilful misconduct'. Although only the SRCA actively compels a Delegate to consider inebriation to be 'serious and wilful misconduct', Delegates would be justified in making a similar finding (on their own account) in relation to a pre-1988 injury.

In cases involving the use of illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and heroin, Delegates should simply observe that use of those drugs (other than by means of a doctor's prescription) is illegal under Australian law. Use of these drugs without a lawful prescription, whether for alleged 'self medication' or otherwise, should always constitute 'serious and wilful misconduct'.