Campbell v Gordon: SC 6 Jul 2016

The employee was injured at work, but in a way excluded from the employers insurance cover. He now sought to make the sole company director liable, hoping in term to take action against the director’s insurance brokers for negligence, the director himself now also bankrupt. The pursuer now appealed.
Held: The appeal failed, and the claim against the director failed (Baroness Hale of Richmond DPSC and Lord Toulson JSC dissenting). Generally, one person has no right of civil action for another’s failure to comply with a statutory obligation where the statute imposed a criminal penalty for that failure to comply. However, as an exception liability may arise where the statutory obligation was imposed to benefit employees as a class, though it was necessary to show that the obligation created by the statute had been placed on the person sought to be made liable in the particular circumstances of the case, and would not apply where civil liability was already imposed on another. In this case liability already fell on the company, and not additionally on the directors.

Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath, Lord Toulson
[2016] UKSC 38, [2016] Lloyd’s Rep IR 591, [2016] ICR 862, [2016] 3 WLR 294, [2016] PIQR P15, 2016 SLT 887, [2016] WLR(D) 376, 2016 GWD 21-380, [2016] AC 1513, 2016 SCLR 434, [2016] 2 BCLC 287, UKSC 2015/0061
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary
Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969
CitedRichardson v Pitt-Stanley CA 11-Aug-1994
The directors of a company did not become personally liable for damages, only because they had failed to insure the company for liability for personal injuries suffered as a result of the company’s activities, even though they may be criminally . .
At SCSCampbell v Peter Gordon Joiners Ltd and Forsyth, The Liquidator Thereof and Gordon SCS 3-Feb-2015
(Extra Division – Inner House) The pursuer was injured working as an apprentice for a company operated by its sole director, the second defender. Though he was an apprentice joiner, the company’s insurance excluded (in breach of the 1969 Act) injury . .
CitedGroves v Lord Wimborne CA 1898
The court heard a case dealing with a claim for breach of a duty to fence dangerous machinery under the Act.
Held: Legislation protecting safety in the workplace gives rise to an action by a person for whom the protection was intended for . .
CitedBlack v The Fife Coal Co, Ltd SCS 24-Nov-1908
. .
CitedMonk v Warbey CA 1935
The court took a strict view of a vehicle owner’s potential liability to injured third parties.
Held: A person who suffered injury by reason of a breach of s35 could maintain an action in damages for that breach: ‘The Road Traffic Act, 1930, . .
CitedLonrho Ltd v Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (No 2) HL 1-Apr-1981
No General Liability in Tort for Wrongful Acts
The plaintiff had previously constructed an oil supply pipeline from Beira to Mozambique. After Rhodesia declared unilateral independence, it became a criminal offence to supply to Rhodesia without a licence. The plaintiff ceased supply as required, . .
CitedCaparo Industries Plc v Dickman and others HL 8-Feb-1990
Limitation of Loss from Negligent Mis-statement
The plaintiffs sought damages from accountants for negligence. They had acquired shares in a target company and, relying upon the published and audited accounts which overstated the company’s earnings, they purchased further shares.
Held: The . .
CitedFairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd and Others HL 20-Jun-2002
The claimants suffered mesothelioma after contact with asbestos while at work. Their employers pointed to several employments which might have given rise to the condition, saying it could not be clear which particular employment gave rise to the . .
CitedMorrison Sports Ltd and Others v Scottish Power SC 28-Jul-2010
A fire caused substantial damage to buildings. It arose from a ‘shim’ placed in a fuse box which then overheated. The parties disputed whose employee had inserted the shim. The Act under which the Regulations had been made was repealed and replaced . .
CitedButler (or Black) v Fife Coal Co, Ltd HL 19-Dec-1911
The court considered whether a civil remedy existed for breach of statutory duty. Lord Kinnear said: ‘If the duty be established, I do not think there is any serious question as to civil liability. There is no reasonable ground for maintaining that . .
CitedCutler v Wandsworth Stadium Ltd HL 1949
The Act required the occupier of a licensed racetrack to take all steps necessary to secure that, so long as a totalisator was being lawfully operated on the track, there was available for bookmakers space on the track where they could conveniently . .
CitedRainham Chemical Works Ltd (in liquidation) and others v Belvedere Fish Guano Co Ltd HL 1921
At a time of war, a process was invented where picric acid was manufactured from dinitrophenol (DNP) and nitrate of soda. DNP had been used mainly for the manufacture of dyes, and was a stable compound which did not explode easily. It was not in . .
CitedX (Minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (A Minor) and Another v Newham London Borough Council; Etc HL 29-Jun-1995
Liability in Damages on Statute Breach to be Clear
Damages were to be awarded against a Local Authority for breach of statutory duty in a care case only if the statute was clear that damages were capable of being awarded. in the ordinary case a breach of statutory duty does not, by itself, give rise . .
CitedPerforming Right Society Ltd v Ciryl Theatrical Syndicate Ltd 1924
The court looked at personal responsibility of the directors of a company for torts committed by the company: ‘Prima facie a managing director is not liable for tortious acts done by servants of the company unless he himself is privy to the acts, . .
CitedRickless v United Artists Corporation CA 1987
The Act created a private right to performers. Although it might appear to provide criminal sanctions only, performers had the right to give or withhold consent to the use of their performances and to enforce that right by action in the civil . .
CitedRegina v Deputy Governor of Parkhurst Prison, Ex parte Hague, Weldon v Home Office HL 24-Jul-1991
The prisoner challenged the decision to place him in segregation under Prison Rule 43. Under rule 43(1) the initial power to segregate was given to ‘the governor’. The case arose from the fact that the governor of one prison had purported to . .
CitedMorrison Sports Ltd and Others v Scottish Power SC 28-Jul-2010
A fire caused substantial damage to buildings. It arose from a ‘shim’ placed in a fuse box which then overheated. The parties disputed whose employee had inserted the shim. The Act under which the Regulations had been made was repealed and replaced . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 18 January 2022; Ref: scu.566483