Cassidy -v- Ministry of Health; CA 1951

The court considered the liability in negligence of the respondent for the negligence of doctors employed by it.
Held: The Ministry was liable for the negligence of doctors who were employed by it on contracts of service.
Denning LJ (dissenting) said that: “whenever they accept a patient for treatment, they must use reasonable care and skill to cure him of his ailment. The hospital authorities cannot, of course, do it by themselves: they have no ears to listen through the stethoscope, and no hands to hold the surgeon’s knife. They must do it by the staff which they employ; and if their staff are negligent in giving the treatment, they are just as liable for that negligence as is anyone else who employs others to do his duties for him.” and “where a person is himself under a duty to use care, he cannot get rid of his responsibility by delegating the performance of it to someone else, no matter whether the delegation be to a servant under a contract of service or to an independent contractor under a contract for services.”

Court: CA
Date: 01-Jan-1951
Judges: Denning LJ, Somervell LJ, Singleton LJ
References: [1951] 2 KB 343,
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Filed under Professional Negligence, Vicarious Liability

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