Supreme Court takes stock of law on vicarious liability

29 March 2016

The Supreme Court has recently taken a very wide view of vicarious liability (where third parties can hold employers civilly liable for the actions of their employees), as I reported today in full on our Commercial Disputes blog.

An employer was even held liable where an employee assaulted a customer- presumably something the employer never wanted, or expected, the employee to do.  This is in sharp contrast to the rules on corporate criminal liability, where the company is only considered criminally liable if an employee involved in the criminal activity can be considered the governing mind of the company.  Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 was one way to circumvent that restriction, which the Government considered extending to other forms of economic crime.  The Government held back from that (as previously blogged).  It will be interesting to see if the courts now overtake the Government's thinking.

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