Gilchrist Watt and Sanderson Pty Ltd v York Products Pty Ltd: PC 1970

(New South Wales – Australia) The defendants were stevedores who had lost two cases of clocks that they had received as sub-bailees of the shipowners, who in turn owed a duty to deliver them to the plaintiffs under the bills of lading.
Held: The defendants were liable. They: ‘took upon themselves an obligation to the plaintiffs to exercise due care for the safety of the goods, although there was no contractual relation or attornment between the defendants and the plaintiffs.’ A sub-bailee had only voluntarily taken into his possession the goods of another if he has sufficient notice that a person other than the bailee is interested in the goods so that it can properly be said that in addition to his duties to the bailee he has, by taking the goods into his custody, assumed towards that other person the responsibility for the goods which is characteristic of a bailee.


Lord Pearson


[1970] 1 WLR 1262


ApprovedMorris v C W Martin and Sons Ltd CA 1965
The plaintiff took her mink stole to the defendants for cleaning. An employee received and stole the fur. The judge had held that the defendants were not liable because the theft was not committed in the course of employment.
Held: The . .

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 . .
CitedYearworth and others v North Bristol NHS Trust CA 4-Feb-2009
The defendant hospital had custody of sperm samples given by the claimants in the course of fertility treatment. The samples were effectively destroyed when the fridge malfunctioned. Each claimant was undergoing chemotherapy which would prevent them . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Agency, Commonwealth

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.214712