CIC Insurance Ltd v Bankstown Football Club Ltd (1997) 187 CLR 384

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  • There was a fire at the Bankstown Football Club (“BFC“) in January 1992.  BFC had an insurance policy with CIC Insurance Ltd (“CIC“).
  • The insurance policy indemnified BFC for any damaged or destroyed buildings.
  • A Declaration of Loss form was completed behalf of BFC and then delivered to CIC. This was a printed form provided by CIC. It contained no provision for particulars of loss.
  • At the time of fire, BFC had debts of $188,610 in respect of a fixed loan and about $30,000 on overdraft.
  • On July 1992, CIC informed BFC that it refused its claim and that it may cancel the policy due to its belief that BFC had made a fraudulent claim.  BFC could not repair the buildings.
  • In December 1992, a second fire occurred. A third fire occurred in March 1993.


“…the modern approach to interpretation …insists that the context be considered in the first instance, not merely at some later stage when ambiguity might be thought to arise, and … uses ‘context’ in its widest sense to include such things as the existing state of the law and the mischief which, by legitimate means … one may discern the statute was intended to remedy.

(Brennan CJ and Dawson, Toohey and Gummow JJ)

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