Limpus v London General Omnibus Company: CExC 23 Jun 1862

Vicarious Liability – Act on Employers Business

The driver of an omnibus, seeking to disturb the omnibus of another company, drove his own across the path of another. His employers had furnished him and other drivers with a card saying they ‘must not on any account race with or obstruct another omnibus.’ Baron Martin had directed the jury that, if the defendant’s driver did it for the purposes of his employer, the defendants were liable: but if it was an act of his own, and in order to effect a purpose of his own, the defendants were not responsible. The jury found for the plaintiff.
Held: The employer was liable for the ensuing accident despite written instructions to the driver to exercsie care. The employer was liable because the injury resulted from an act done by the driver in the course of his service and for his master’s purposes; it was not done by the servant for his own purposes, but for his master’s purposes.
Lord Blackburn said: ‘A footman might think it for the interest of his master to drive the coach, but no one could say that it was within the scope of the footman’s employment, and that the master would be liable for damage resulting from the wilful act of the footman in taking charge of the horses.’

Wiles J, Blackburn J
(1862) 1 H and C 526, [1862] EngR 839, (1862) 158 ER 993
England and Wales
See AlsoLimpus v The London General Omnibus Company 1861
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Cited by:
CitedRose v Plenty CA 7-Jul-1975
Contrary to his employers orders, a milkman allowed children to assist him in his milkround. One was injured, and sued the milkman’s employer.
Held: The milkman had not gone so far outside the activities for which he was employed for the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Vicarious Liability, Personal Injury

Leading Case

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.190002