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Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 2214

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 07/01/2024 20:41

Judgement for the case Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd

Table Of Contents


  • The defendant's position as the managing director, with its inherent authority and seniority, continued and played a crucial role. He held a dominant position and had supervisory responsibilities, which allowed him to assert his authority over the staff present and reassert it whenever he deemed it necessary.

  • As such, the connection between Mr. Major's actions and the assault is significant enough to make it fair for the company to be vicariously liable for his conduct.


  • Mr Clive Bellman was employed as a sales manager by Northampton Recruitment Limited (NR). The company had three directors, with Mr. John Major being the managing director and the directing mind of NR. NR held a Christmas party at Collingtree Golf Club, attended by staff members and their partners, as well as two invited guests. 

  • After the party at the golf club ended, some attendees, including Mr. Bellman, went to the Hilton Hotel for further drinks. There, the conversation turned to NR's business plans for the following year. Around 2:45 am, a group of six, including Mr. Major and Mr. Bellman, went outside. An argument arose between them concerning a new employee's appointment and salary.

  • Mr. Major became increasingly agitated, swearing and asserting his control over the company's decisions. He struck Mr. Bellman, causing him to fall, and later hit him again with a severe blow, resulting in Mr. Bellman sustaining a serious head injury, traumatic brain damage, and other impairments.

  • The court had to determine whether NR could be held vicariously liable for Mr. Major's actions and whether the company should be held responsible for the assault that occurred at the Christmas party.


  • The ruling clarified the limits of vicarious liability in the context of work-related social events.

  • While employers may be vicariously liable for certain actions of their employees that occur in the course of their employment, this liability is not unlimited, and the connection between the employee's role and the incident must be carefully assessed.

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Tort Law Notes
1,070 total pages
853 purchased

Tort Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridg...