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McDermid v Nash Dredging Co

[1987] AC 906

Case summary last updated at 20/01/2020 17:03 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case McDermid v Nash Dredging Co

P was employed by D on a boat and suffered personal injury by the captain’s negligence. The captain was employed by a TP. HL held D liable despite the captain being employed by a TP (NB not a case of defective equipment). 
Lord Brandon: The captain was NOT a servant of D and D was not liable vicariously but was liable for failing to provide a safe system of working: “First, an employer owes to his employee a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure that the system of work provided for him is a safe one. Secondly, the provision of a safe system of work has two aspects: (a) the devising of such a system and (b) the operation of it. Thirdly, the duty concerned has been described alternatively as either personal or non-delegable…The essential characteristic of the duty is that, if it is not performed, it is no defence for the employer to show that he delegated its performance to a person, whether his servant or not his servant, whom he reasonably believed to be competent to perform it. Despite such delegation the employer is liable for the non-performance of the duty.

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