The Catholic Child Welfare Society and Others v Various Claimants and The Institute of The Brothers of The Christian Schools and Others: SC 21 Nov 2012

Law of vicarious liability is on the move

Former children at the children’s homes had sought damages for sexual and physical abuse. The court heard arguments as to the vicarious liability of the Society for abuse caused by a parish priest visiting the school. The Court of Appeal had found some defendants (school management trust) not vicariously liable. The other defendants appealed.
Held: The appeals succeeded. It was fair and just and reasonable for the defendants to share liability.
The law of vicarious liability has been extended (Lord Phillips: ‘The law of vicarious liability is on the move’). Unincorporated associations might now be liable, such liability extended beyond the strict extent of the employee’s duties, and could include illegal activity, and such liability can be shared.

Lord Phillips, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath
[2012] UKSC 56, UKSC 2010/0230, [2012] WLR(D) 335, [2013] 1 All ER 670, [2013] IRLR 219, [2013] PIQR P6, [2013] ELR 1, [2012] 3 WLR 1319, [2013] 2 AC 1
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary
England and Wales
CitedDonovan v Laing, Wharton and Down Construction Syndicate Ltd CA 1893
The plaintiff was injured by the negligence of a crane driver. The defendants had contracted to lend the crane with its driver to a firm who were loading a ship.
Held: There are circumstances in which vicarious liability for the tortious act . .
Appeal fromJGE v The Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust CA 12-Jul-2012
The claimant suffered physical and serious sexual abuse whilst a child at a children’s home run by the defendant. A parish priest committed some of the abuse, and she claimed that the defendants were vicariously liable. They denied such liability. . .
CitedMersey Docks and Harbour Board v Coggins and Griffith (Liverpool) Ltd HL 1946
Employers Liability for Worker’s Negligence
A worker was injured by a negligently driven crane. The crane and Board’s driver were hired out to stevedores for loading work. The stevedores controlled the crane’s operations, but did not direct how the driver controlled the crane. The hire . .
CitedHawley v Luminar Leisure Ltd and others CA 24-Jan-2006
The claimant was assaulted and severely injured at a night club by a doorman supplied to the club by a third party company now in liquidation. He claimed the club was the ‘temporary deemed employer’ of the doorman. He also sought to claim under the . .
CitedVarious Claimants v The Catholic Child Welfare Society and Others CA 26-Oct-2010
Child sexual abuse was alleged by 150 claimants against staff members of a community home with teachers supplied by the defendants. The court had asked whether they had vicarious liability for the acts of their staff, and now whether the board of . .
CitedBiffa Waste Services Ltd and Another v Maschinenfabrik Ernst Hese Gmbh and others CA 12-Nov-2008
The defendant contracted to build a plant for the claimant. The plant was damaged by a fire caused by the defendant’s independent sub-contractor. The defendant appealed against the finding that it was responsible for the sub-contractor’s failure. . .
At first instanceJGE v The English Province of Our Lady of Charity and Another QBD 8-Nov-2011
The court was asked as a preliminary issue who should be the defendant where a claim was made of rape and other assaults by a priest who was a member of the diocese of the second defendant, but employed by the first defendant school. . .
CitedHeaton’s Transport (St Helen’s) Ltd v Transport and General Workers’ Union HL 1972
Injunctions had been granted against the Trades Unions to prevent them undertaking stike action. Proceedings for contempt were brought against the union after blacking had continued, despite the fact that the union through its national and local . .
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 . .
CitedThomas v National Union of Mineworkers (South Wales Area) ChD 1985
Threats made by pickets to those miners who sought to go to work were not an assault because the pickets had no capacity to put into effect their threats of violence whilst they were held back from the vehicles which the working miners were within. . .
CitedMorris 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 . .
CitedBrink’s Global Services Inc and Others v Igrox Ltd and Another CA 27-Oct-2010
There was a sufficiently close connection between an employee’s theft of silver from a customer’s container and the purpose of his employment to make it fair and just that his employer be held vicariously liable for his actions. Moore-Bick LJ said: . .
CitedMaga v The Trustees of The Birmingham Archdiocese of The Roman Catholic Church CA 16-Mar-2010
The claimant appealed against rejection of his claim for damages after alleging sexual abuse by a catholic priest. The judge had found the church not vicariously liable for the injuries, and that the archdiocese had not been under a duty further to . .
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 . .
CitedBrown v Robinson and Sentry PC 14-Dec-2004
(Jamaica) The deceased claimant had been shot by a sentry employed by the respondent company. His estate appealed a finding that the sentry was not acting in the course of his employment.
Held: Older authorities had now been replaced by recent . .
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 . .
CitedA v The Archbishop of Birmingham QBD 30-Jun-2005
Assessment of damages following child abuse by Catholic priest.
Held: General damages of andpound;50,000 were in line with Coxon and were approved. A had not been shown to be, and is not, incapable of managing his affairs. The court differed . .
CitedViasystems (Tyneside) Ltd v Thermal Transfer (Northern) Ltd and others CA 10-Oct-2005
The defendants had subcontracted work installing air conditioning to the second defendants, who in turn bought in fitters from the third defendants. A fitter caused a flood acting irresponsibly.
Held: The court reviewed the law of vicarious . .
CitedMajrowski v Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust HL 12-Jul-2006
Employer can be liable for Managers Harassment
The claimant employee sought damages, saying that he had been bullied by his manager and that bullying amounting to harassment under the 1997 Act. The employer now appealed a finding that it was responsible for a tort committed by a manager, saying . .

Cited by:
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .
CitedCox v Ministry of Justice CA 19-Feb-2014
Appeal against rejection of claim for personal injury. While working as the catering manager at HM Prison Swansea, the Claimant was injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a prisoner carrying out paid work under her supervision. The . .
CitedCox v Ministry of Justice SC 2-Mar-2016
The claimant was working in a prison supervising working prisoners. One of them dropped a bag of rice on her causing injury. At the County Curt, the prisoner was found negligence in the prisoner, but not the appellant for vicarious liability. The . .
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 . .
CitedNA v Nottinghamshire County Council QBD 2-Dec-2014
The claimant said that as a child the defendant had failed in its duty to protect her from her abusive mother and later from foster parents.
Held: Males J, dealt with the issues of liability and limitation, leaving issues concerning causation . .
CitedNA v Nottinghamshire County Council QBD 2-Dec-2014
The claimant said that as a child the defendant had failed in its duty to protect her from her abusive mother and later from foster parents.
Held: Males J, dealt with the issues of liability and limitation, leaving issues concerning causation . .
CitedArmes v Nottinghamshire County Council SC 18-Oct-2017
The claimant had been abused as a child by foster parents with whom she had been placed by the respondent authority. The court was now asked, the Council not having been negligent, were they in any event liable having a non-delegable duty of care . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Vicarious Liability, Torts – Other

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.465935