This interesting question comes from a first-aid (but I won’t identify the RTO and I will also try to avoid identifying the state or territory where they are located).  My correspondent says:

I work for a large RTO that offers a variety of courses.  I am a member of their First Aid Group.  Recently without any consultation our spare First Aid Logo shirts worn by our lecturers, were taken by another department so that their students could have a top.  My question is that there are now students wearing our First Aid tops in public.  Are there any ramifications should they witness a first aid situation and not help?  Considering the RTO name is also part of the top? Would appreciate your opinion and whether I am worrying for no reason.

To avoid debate let me say I’ve seen the t-shirts. They do not say ‘first aider’ or ‘first aid instructor’. They identify the RTO as a provider of first aid training but I won’t say exactly what it does say as that would identify the RTO involved.

The simple answer is that my correspondent is ‘worrying for no reason’.  Depending on the logo, wearing a t-shirt does not mean the person is qualified Any number of people might wear this shirt beside first aid instructors, eg the storeroom manager or the receptionist.  Merely wearing the t-shirt doesn’t change a person’s status to something they are not.  For example, you can buy NYPD (New York Police Department) clothing (see ) but that doesn’t mean the wearer is a member of the NYPD or under a duty to respond as if they were a police officer.

Even if wearing the t-shirt did imply that the person had first aid training, there is no duty to rescue.  If that’s true for Victoria police (see Stuart v Kirkland-Veenstra [2009] HCA 15) then it’s got to be true for a person wearing a t-shirt that identifies a first aid training RTO.  Accordingly wearing the t-shirt isn’t going to give rise to any legal issues unless the person actually holds themselves out as having some skill.

In New South Wales and Tasmania, a person loses ‘Good Samaritan’ protection if they hold themselves out as having skills or qualifications that they do not have – see

To falsely represent that a ‘person has skills or expertise in connection with the rendering of emergency assistance’ (Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) s 58(3)) requires reference to the person’s intention.  Even if a bystander inferred that a person wearing the t-shirt had ‘skills or expertise in connection with the rendering of emergency assistance’ it does not mean that the person was making, or intended to make, that representation. To determine that you would need to know what the person was thinking and what was their intention when they put the shirt on.  If they approached the scene and said: ‘I’m a first aider’ (and they weren’t) then wearing the t-shirt would give credence to their ‘false representation’, but on its own (given the wording of the shirt) there is not, in my opinion, a false representation.

If the person does stop to help the fact that they were wearing the t-shirt won’t require a higher level of care.  A person need only provide reasonable care considering all the circumstances including their training and experience.  If they are not first aid trained, wearing a logo t-shirt won’t change that reality. Again, the answer would be different if they claimed to have some level of training and expertise.


I can understand why my correspondent is annoyed that t-shirts from the first aid department have been given to students in another area, but it won’t give rise to legal ramifications if the person fails to render assistance, or does render assistance, at an accident.