‘Not My Employee, Not My Liability’ A Review of the Law of Vicarious Liability, Its April 2020 Supreme Court Airing, and Its Relevance to the Equestrian Industry and Other Small Businesses

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Carrie de Silva


In April 2020, the Supreme Court in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants [2020] and Barclays Bank plc v Various Claimants [2020] overturned the decisions of the Court of Appeal in applying the law regarding vicarious liability of employees and others (and deciding in both cases that the defendant companies were not liable for the acts in question). The scope of responsibilities which the employment relationship brings, together with an awareness among many businesses of the classification worker, along with the more familiar employed/self-employed status, makes an examination of the outcomes and potential impact of these cases of wide, practical interest for those running businesses, large or small. The review concluded that there had been no dramatic change in the law but that the cases provide a measure of comfort to employers in something of a common-sense view being taken as to the scope of vicarious liability. They also add to the body of case law, helping to ensure that future issues can more clearly be reasoned out of court, with the detailed steer on the application of legal principles which a Supreme Court judgment provides.

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Author Biography

Carrie de Silva, Harper Adams University

Principal Lecturer in Law and Taxation, Harper Adams University