Deatons Pty Ltd v Flew: 12 Dec 1949

(High Court of Australia). A barmaid employed by the appellant threw first the beer from a glass, and then the glass in a customer’s face causing injury. The company appealed a find of vicarious liability.
Held: The act of the barmaid was not expressly authorized, it was not so connected with any authorized act as to be a mode of doing it, but was an independent personal act which was not connected with or incidental in any manner to the work which the barmaid was employed to perform. It was an act of passion and resentment and: ‘an act of passion and resentment done neither in furtherance of the master’s interests nor under his express or implied authority nor as an incident to or in consequence of anything the barmaid was employed to do. It was a spontaneous act of retributive justice. The occasion for administering it and the form it took may have arisen from the fact that she was a barmaid but retribution was not within the course of her employment as a barmaid’


Latham CJ Dixon, McTiernan, Williams and Webb JJ


(1949) 79 CLR 370, [1949] HCA 60





Cited by:

CitedLister and Others v Hesley Hall Ltd HL 3-May-2001
A school board employed staff to manage a residential school for vulnerable children. The staff committed sexual abuse of the children. The school denied vicarious liability for the acts of the teachers.
Held: ‘Vicarious liability is legal . .
CitedMattis v Pollock (T/A Flamingo’s Nightclub) QBD 24-Oct-2002
The claimant sought damages after being assaulted by a doorman employed by the defendant.
Held: The responsibility of the nightclub owner for the actions of his aggressive doorman was not extinguished by the separation in time and place from . .
CitedGravil v Carroll and Another CA 18-Jun-2008
The claimant was injured by an unlawful punch thrown by the first defendant when they played rugby. He sought damages also against the defendant’s club, and now appealed from a finding that they were not vicariously liable. The defendant player’s . .
CitedMohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc SC 2-Mar-2016
The claimant had been assaulted and racially abused as he left a kiosk at the respondent’s petrol station by a member of staff. A manager had tried to dissuade the assailant, and the claim for damages against the supermarket had failed at first . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Vicarious Liability

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.214707