Reading time: 4 minutes

If you are running a business that provides recreational activities to your customers, you may be wondering whether you should request your customers to sign a waiver form. Waiver forms are very common, and you have likely signed one on many occasions over time. This article will run through why waiver forms are used by recreational service providers.

What Exactly Is a Waiver Form?

A waiver form is a legal document that releases one party from having any legal responsibility over the other. Effectively, this means that the signing party would let go of their right to sue the other party if anything goes wrong.

When it comes to recreational activities, the party who signs the waiver form will usually be your customer participating in the activity. As the provider of recreational services, you will provide the waiver form.

Under Australian law, a recreational activity means a sport, pursuit or activity for enjoyment, relaxation or leisure. 

What Legal Responsibility Might I Have to My Customers?

To understand how a waiver works, it is crucial to know what legal responsibilities you might have to customers. Often, you will have a duty of care not to harm your customers. This legal obligation arises if it is quite probable that your customers could face harm while engaging in your activities.

If you have a duty of care and your customer experiences an injury as a result of your breach of that duty, they can sue you. Having a waiver form in place will not stop their ability to do this.

What Is the Point of a Waiver Form?

A waiver form limits the legal responsibility that you have to your customer as much as possible. Ideally, a waiver form would aim to limit your legal liability by:

  • informing your customer of the potential risks involved with taking part in the recreational activity; and 
  • requiring your customer to agree that you will not be legally responsible for the possible consequences of participating in the recreational activity.

However, you cannot use a waiver to exclude all your responsibilities to your customers. If you owe a duty of care to your customers and your customer experienced an injury due to you breaching that duty of care, they can make a claim against you in court. 

Here, the court will look at the whole of the factual circumstances. This means that the court will ultimately determine whether the waiver form means that you are not legal responsibility for the injuries, or if you must pay compensation for any injuries that your customers face.

What Are the Advantages of a Waiver Form?

Having a waiver form is, nevertheless, useful to protect your interests. This is because there will be certain times where you will not have a duty of care over your customers, and the form can exclude your legal responsibility.

For example, in New South Wales, if you warn your customers of the risks of taking part in your recreational activities, you will not have a duty of care to protect them from that risk. Further, you can use a waiver form to exclude your legal responsibility to provide recreational services with due care and skill.

However, in some cases, you may not be able to rely on the exclusion of your liability. This may be relevant if your customer:

  • experienced harm because you breached laws relating to practices and procedures which protect personal safety; and
  • suffered significant personal injury due to your reckless conduct of the recreational services.

Key Takeaways

If your business provides recreational services, a waiver form will be an essential document to limit your legal responsibilities. But, you must also comply with any laws regarding your duty of care to customers. You should also alert your customers of the risks associated with undertaking your recreational activities. It is also crucial that you put practices in place which aim to protect customer safety. If you have any questions about waiver forms, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 


How Franchisors Can Avoid Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Wednesday 18 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Ensure your franchise is not accused of misleading and deceptive conduct. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Day in Court: What Happens When Your Business Goes to Court

Thursday 2 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

If your business is going to court, then you need to understand the process. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Manage a Construction Dispute

Thursday 9 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Protect your construction firm from disputes. To understand how, join our free webinar.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer