Legal Hypothetical: The Tale of the Two Rabbits

ON a magical Christmas morning, George, aged eight, and his younger sister Milla, aged seven, woke up to find two adorable and fluffy bunnies under their Christmas tree – gifts from Father Christmas himself.

Their parents, however, had their reservations about these new additions to the family, considering they already had a Labrador named Paddy, who was the apple of everyone’s eye.

Before the arrival of these bunnies, their parents had voiced their concerns to Father Christmas’ elves, who assured them that the rabbits would not disrupt their household’s balance.

They were promised that Paddy would take to the rabbits just fine, given dogs’ general affinity for rabbits.

However, in the days that followed, a noticeable change overcame Paddy.

The once lively and affectionate dog began to withdraw and his interaction with George and Milla steadily declined.

Paddy became so distant that he relocated to the neighbours’, where he received the attention and affection he was missing at home.

Alarmed by Paddy’s sudden change in behaviour, George and Milla’s parents reached-out to the elves.

They reminded the elves of their assurances that the rabbits would not impact the household dynamics and Paddy’s wet nose would not be put out of joint.

Considering the cost of dogs and the loss of their beloved Paddy, George and Milla’s parents sought advice from a local solicitor, aiming to recover damages resulting from the introduction of the rabbits.

The solicitor advised them that they could have a case against the elves under the Australian Consumer Law.

The elves, by assuring the parents that the rabbits wouldn’t affect Paddy, made a promise that turned out to be false.

Under Consumer Law, businesses must not make false or misleading representations when offering to supply or promote goods and services.

The Court concluded that the elves had indeed breached their duty and George and Milla’s parents had relied on their misrepresentation.

However, the Court also found that the circumstances were too remote to recover the costs of replacing Paddy.

The ruling served as a reminder to the elves to always keep their promises realistic and within perspective.

Thank you to Anthony Fogarty for his assistance with this column.

By Manny WOOD, Solicitor

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