Gravil 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 contract required him not to engage in such behaviour.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The judge had correctly stated the question as being whether the tort was so closely connected with the employment that it would be fair and just to hold the employers vicariously liable: ‘it is not appropriate to ask a broader question, namely whether in all the circumstances of the case it would be fair and just to hold the club liable. The critical factor is the nature of the employment and the closeness (or otherwise) of the connection between the employment and the tort. The question what is fair and reasonable must be answered in the context of the closeness or otherwise of that connection. The answer to the question in each case depends upon its particular facts, ‘However, in this case here was just that close connection between what was done and the defendant’s employment.’

Sir Anthony Clarke MR, Smith LJ, Richards LJ
[2008] EWCA Civ 689, Times 22-Jul-2008, [2008] ICR 1222, [2008] IRLR 829
England and Wales
CitedDubai Aluminium Company Limited v Salaam and Others HL 5-Dec-2002
Partners Liable for Dishonest Act of Solicitor
A solicitor had been alleged to have acted dishonestly, having assisted in a fraudulent breach of trust by drafting certain documents. Contributions to the damages were sought from his partners.
Held: The acts complained of were so close to . .
CitedJacobi v Griffiths 17-Jun-1999
(Canadian Supreme Court) The process for determining when a non-authorised act by an employee is so connected to the employer’s enterprise that liability should be imposed involved two steps: 1. Firstly a court should determine whether there are . .
CitedBazley v Curry 17-Jun-1999
(Canadian Supreme Court) The court considerd the doctrine of vicarious liability: ‘The policy purposes underlying the imposition of vicarious liability on employers are served only where the wrong is so connected with the employment that it can be . .
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) CA 1-Jul-2003
A nightclub employed an unlicensed bouncer/doorman. After an altercation in and outside the club, he went home, and returned armed and seriously assaulted the customer.
Held: The club had vicarious liability for his acts. There was a . .
CitedBernard v The Attorney General of Jamaica PC 7-Oct-2004
PC (Jamaica) The claimant had been queuing for some time to make an overseas phone call at the Post Office. Eventually his turn came, he picked up the phone and dialled. Suddenly a man intervened, announced . .
CitedLloyd v Grace, Smith and Co HL 1912
Mrs Lloyd delivered the title deeds of her cottages at Ellesmere Port to the solicitors’ managing clerk, who defrauded her.
Held: Vicarious liability can extend to fraudulent acts or omissions if those were carried out in the course of the . .
CitedIrving and Irving v Post Office CA 1987
The defendant’s employee disliked his neighbours – the plaintiffs. Whilst working in the sorting office, he wrote racially abusive materials on letters addressed to them. The plaintiffs appealed a finding that the defendant was not liable because . .
CitedAldred v Nacanco CA 1987
The claimant sought damages. At the end of the day, a co-employee tried to startle her by pushing an insecure washbasin against her, but caused her actual injury.
Held: The plaintiff’s appeal was dismissed. It was an independent act not . .
CitedDeatons 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 . .

Cited by:
CitedFosse Motor Engineers Ltd and others v Conde Nast and National Magazine Distributors Ltd and Another TCC 20-Aug-2008
The claimant said that the defendant’s employees had negligently started a fire which burned down the claimant’s warehouse. There was limited evidence to establish the cause.
Held: The claim failed. The scientific evidence did not point to any . .
CitedWeddall v Barchester Healthcare Ltd CA 24-Jan-2012
Parties appealed against judgments dismissing their claims of vicarious liability as against their employers after assaults by co-employees.
Held: Appeals were dismissed and allowed according to their facts.
In one case, one employee . .
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.

Torts – Other, Vicarious Liability

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.269976