Vicarious liability is established on the principle that employer is vicariously liable for the tort while employees are executing their duties[1]. Vicarious liability in the English law has expanded in the recent years in establishing vicarious liability for, especially, abhorrent acts including violent conduct deceit, and sexual abuse[2]. Historically, most intentional wrongdoings were not held to be in the course of the ordinary employment[3][4]. However, the recent case law in the UK suggests that where as an action has a close link to the duties of the employee, the employee may be considered vicariously liable[5]. The ruling in Lister v Hesley Hall Ltd by House of Lords created a new precedent by establishing the concept of “relative closeness” which now connects the nature of the established employment liability and the tort[6][7]. Considering the recent developments in both moral and legal basis, it is evident that the law has been pushed too far in terms of establishing vicarious liability.

Prior to Lister v Hesley Hall Ltd ruling, it had been decided that abhorrent acts such as sexual abuse by the employees cannot be seen to be in the course of his or her employment, which precludes the recovery from the employer[8].  The decision overruled the earlier Court of Appeal ruling in T v North Yorkshire CC, where the sexual abuse of the headmaster in the field trip fell outside his employment scope and thus the employer was vicariously not liable[9][10]. Various forms of justifications for the wide recovery have been developed in various areas[11]. The first justification given is that it is common in tort law to allow the injured party to access means of compensation[12][13][14]. As s………………………………………….

[1] Mallen, Ronald E., and Jeffrey M. Smith. Legal malpractice. Vol. 3. West Group, 2000.

[2] Pitts, Chip. Corporate criminal liability. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2014.


[3] Potgieter, J. M. “Preliminary thoughts on whether vicarious liability should be extended to the parent-child relationship: notes.” Obiter 32, no. 1 (2011): 189-203.

[4] Watson, Susan, and Chris Noonan. “The Widening Gyre of Vicarious Liability.” Torts Law Journal (2009): 144-161.

[5] Bell, Phil. “The social construction of bodily injury.” The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance-Issues and Practice 31, no. 2 (2006): 340-356.

[6] James, M. D., and David McArdle. “Player violence or violent players? Vicarious liability for sports participants.” Tort Law Review 12, no. 3 (2004): 131-146.

[7] Deakin, Simon. “‘Enterprise‐Risk’: The Juridical Nature of the Firm Revisited.” Industrial Law Journal 32, no. 2 (2003): 97-114.

[8] Conaghan, Joanne. “Law, harm and redress: A feminist perspective.” Legal Studies 22, no. 3 (2002): 319-339.

[9] Grace, John. “Who do I sue? Liability for the treatment of NHS patients by outside providers.” Clinical Risk 13, no. 5 (2007): 193-195.

[10] Giliker, Paula. “Rough Justice in an Unjust World.” The Modern Law Review65, no. 2 (2002): 269-279.

[11] Giliker, Paula, and Silas Beckwith. Tort. Sweet and Maxwell, 2000.

[12] Brooks, Richard RW. “Liability and Organizational Choice*.” Journal of Law and Economics 45, no. 1 (2002): 91-125.

[13] Hall, Margaret. “After Waterhouse: vicarious liability and the tort of institutional abuse.” The Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law 22, no. 2 (2000): 159-173.

[14] Brodie, Douglas. “Enterprise liability: justifying vicarious liability.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 27, no. 3 (2007): 493-508………………………………………

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