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VICARIOUS LIABILITY: Employer accountable for wrongdoing by a contractor

28 September 2017  

A High Court decision has significantly extended the scope of employers’ potential liability for the actions of individuals whom they do not formally employ, explain Kate Bain and Luke Green

The High Court recently handed down its ruling in Various Claimants v Barclays Bank plc [2017], which greatly extends the scope of an employer’s vicarious liability so that it can cover quasi-employees and independent contractors working under the employer’s direction. It represents a worrying development for employers who engage independent contractors to provide their employees with services on their behalf, such as occupational health support or eyesight, hearing or other medical testing. It could also result in businesses that use gig economy workers being held liable for their wrongdoing.

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    Cox v Ministry of Justice [2016] UKSC 10

    JGE v The Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust [2012] EWCA Civ 938

    The Catholic Child Welfare Society & ors v Various Claimants & ors [2012] UKSC 56

    Various Claimants v Barclays Bank plc [2017] EWHC 1929 (QB)

Last modified on 27 September 2017