Broom v Morgan: CA 1953

The plaintiff and her husband were employed by the defendant to manage and work in a beer and wine house. The Plaintiff was injured through the negligence of her husband in the course of his employment. In an action by her against the defendant in respect of the injury . .
Held: Where a servant while acting in the scope of his employment negligently harms another the fact that his relationship to the injured person is such that suit cannot be brought against him does not relieve the master from liability. An employer was liable to a person injured by the negligence of his servants, notwithstanding the legal immunity of the servants from action at the suit of the injured party, and, therefore the defendant was liable to the plaintiff, despite the inability of the plaintiff to sue her husband in respect of the injury.
Denning LJ said that the master’s liability for the negligence of his servant is not a vicarious liability but a liability of the master himself going to his failure to see that his work is properly and carefully done. The master’s liability is his own liability and remains on him notwithstanding the immunity of the servants, but even if the master’s liability is a vicarious liability, the husband’s immunity is a mere rule of procedure, and not a rule of substantive law. It is an immunity from suit and not and immunity from duty or liability and so, on that view of the law also, the master would be liable for the negligence of the servant.


Denning LJ


[1953] 1 QB 597


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCox v Ministry of Justice SC 2-Mar-2016
The claimant was working in a prison supervising working prisoners. One of them dropped a bag of rice on her causing injury. At the County Curt, the prisoner was found negligence in the prisoner, but not the appellant for vicarious liability. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Vicarious Liability, Negligence

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.606510