Horseplay, affray and going astray – vicarious liability for intentional wrongdoing in the workplace
In a casenote for the Journal of Professional Negligence, Joshua Cainer analyses Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Ltd (QBD) on the extent of application of the second limb of the two-limb test for vicarious liability in cases of intentional wrongdoing, in the context of a personal injury claim resulting from a co-worker’s practical joke.
Vicarious liability requires courts to apply a now well-established two-limb test and consider whether: (1) the relationship between the defendant and the primary wrongdoer was so close that it was capable of giving rise to vicarious liability; and (2) the connection between that relationship and the primary wrongdoing was close enough to impose liability on the defendant.
Despite hopes to the contrary, following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants (Morrison),1 it remains controversial how broadly the courts should apply the second limb, particularly in cases of intentional wrongdoing. As one of the first decisions on vicarious liability for intentional wrongdoing post-Morrison, Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Limited (Chell)2 is instructive in considering the second limb’s breadth.
In the full article, Joshua considers the facts of Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Ltd and the decision made in the County Court and the High Court. Joshua analyses the extent of application of the second limb of the two-limb test for vicarious liability in cases of intentional wrongdoing, in the context of a personal injury claim resulting from a co-worker’s practical joke. The article can be read in full on Westlaw here.
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Joshua Cainer joined Chambers in 2020 following the successful completion of his pupillage. He is happy to accept instructions across all of Chambers’ areas of practice and is also a member of the Attorney General’s Junior Junior Scheme.
Barristers: Joshua Cainer