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Rose v Plenty

[1976] 1 WLR 141

Case summary last updated at 20/01/2020 17:39 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Rose v Plenty

D was a milkman employed by X. X told him he was not allowed to employ children to help out with milk-rounds. D employed P, a child, and D’s negligence caused P injury. CA held that X was liable for D’s negligence.
Lord Denning (majority): Notices such as orders to refrain form an activity do not exempt the employer from vicarious liability if the activity was carried out for the master’s purposes rather than for the servant’s. Denning says that if an act is done for “the employer’s business”, regardless of prohibitions, then it is “usually done in the course of business”. Here, the conduct was within the course of employment (the purpose was delivery of milk) and so X was vicariously liable. 
Lawton LJ (dissenting): D was NOT acting in X’s interests: It was D who was paid to do the work and it was not in X’s interest that he should subcontract the work to the boy. Thus he was outside the scope of his employment. Also it was not in X’s interest that D should act against X’s express wishes and cause P injury.

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