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GDL Law Notes GDL Tort Law Notes

Employers And Vicarious Liability Notes

Updated Employers And Vicarious Liability Notes

GDL Tort Law Notes

GDL Tort Law

Approximately 591 pages

A collection of the best GDL notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through applications from top students and carefully evaluating each on accuracy, formatting, logical structure, spelling/grammar, conciseness and "wow-factor". In short these are what we believe to be the strongest set of GDL notes available in the UK this year. This collection of GDL notes is fully updated for recent exams, also making them the most up-to-date GDL study materials ...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

  • Employers’ (Primary) Liability

    - Definition: employee sues employer for breach of duty of care at work (c. must be employee, test: Ready Mixed Concrete).

    Duty of Care

    - Principal duty: to take reasonable care for employees’ safety (Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co v English).

    • 1 principal duty – [Ld Wright]: ‘provision of competent staff of men, adequate materials + proper system/effective supervision’.

    • 3 areas:

      • 1. duty to provide safe premises, plant, equipment + materials.

      • 2. duty to provide reasonably competent fellow employees.

      • 3. duty to provide safe system of work: inc. supervision + instruction.

    • common law duty: employer cannot rely on compliance with statutory duty as defence (Bux v Slough Metals).

    • implied term in employment contracts (Johnstone v Bloomsbury AHA).

      • cannot exclude (s2(1) UCTA 1977).

    • compulsory insurance (Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 / Regulations 1998).

    - Duty personal + non-delegable (McDermid v Nash Dredging) – can delegate responsibility but not liability.

    • Mullaney v CC W Midlands Police: PC on stake-out unable to call back-up, beaten up CC liable: cannot delegate.

    … 1. Duty to Provide Safe Premises, Plant, Materials, Equipment

    - Safe premises (Smith v Baker & Sons: rock from crane – [Ld Herschell]): must take reasonable care to provide proper appliances, to maintain them in proper condition, carry out operations as to not subject those employed to unnecessary risk.

    • arises from contract.

    • ‘premises’: inc. defects in premises + hazardous activities taking place.

    - Safe machinery, plant + equipment as employer ought reasonably to provide: dep. on circs.

    • safety features/equipment/protective clothing:

      • Qualcast v Haynes: employer provided protective footwear, not worn NOT liable.

      • Davie v New Merton Board Mills Ltd: defective hammer, but reputable supplier NOT liable.

        • now reversed: Employers’ Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969.

      • Bux v Slough Metals Ltd: protective goggle provided, not worn LIABLE: duty to insist equipment used (modifying Qualcast).

      • Yorkshire Traction Co v Walter Searby: bus drivers not provided with screens, but had objected b/c of glare + risk low NOT liable.

    • consider employees’ characteristics (Paris v Stepney BC: 1-eyed extra precautions needed).

    • but exceptional circs. may be excluded (Mulcahy v MOD: duty does not extend to soldiers in battle).

    • N.B. employees also have duty to use sensibly (O’Reilly v National Rail Appliances: hit bomb with hammer employer NOT liable).

    • equipment: s1(3) Employers’ Liability (Def. Equip.) Act 1969: ‘any plant + machinery, vehicle, aircraft, clothing’ – broad.

      • Coltman v Bibby Tankers: ship = equipment.

      • Knowles v Liverpool CC: flagstone = equipment.

    - Precautions need only be reasonable, not absolute (Latimer v AEC).

    - Injury on 3rd party premises: still duty, but standard lower (Wilson v Tyneside Cleaning Co: external premises lower standard; Cook v Square D Ltd: abroad – even lower.)

    … 2. Duty to Provide Reasonably Competent Fellow Employees

    (N.B. vicarious claims more common: esp. for incompetent staff.

    • but primary employers’ liability too (+ employee himself liable, but often no money).

    - Employer must take reasonable precautions: e.g. checks, probationary periods, dismissal of known risky employees.

    • incompetent employee: d. liable if negligent in selection of staff (Black v Fife Coal Ltd: incompetent colliery manager employer liable).

    • practical jokers: d. liable if (ought to be) aware of risk (i.e. habitual joker, not one-off).

      • Hudson v Ridge Manufacturing Co Ltd: c. tripped up by known prankster, employer aware liable.

      • Smith v Crossley Bros: unusual practical joke (debagging + gas) not liable: unforeseeable.

    • bullying/harassment: d. liable if aware of risk.

      • Harrison v Lawrence Murphy: employee harassed by manager, partners aware 50k settlement.

      • Waters v MPC: WPC harassed for complaining of assault liable.

    … 3. Duty to Provide Safe System of Work

    - Broad:physical layout of job’: inc. organisation, sequence, warnings/instructions, training, methods (Speed v Thomas Swift & Co, [Ld Greene]).

    • must be devised + implemented (McDermid v Nash Dredging Co).

    • training (General Cleaning v Christmas: window-cleaner balancing precariously d. liable: should have minimised risk through training – must take a/c of employee carelessness).

    • instruction/supervision: dep. on kind of work + risks.

      • must update + review (Speed v Thomas Swift).

      • even if unusual work (Fraser v Winchester HA: c. sent on camping expedition with gas stove.)

    • warnings: dep. on level of risk (Pape v Cumbria CC: c. using industrial cleaning chems, not warned d. liable; Fraser v Winchester HA: c. not told how to use gas stove liable).

    • economic welfare: e.g. insurance for those going abroad (Crossley v Faithfull & Gould Holdings).

    - Standard: employer must take REASONABLE CARE – not absolute.

    • Clifford v Charles Challen & Son Ltd: d. failed to keep protective substances on premises + discouraged liable for dermatitis.

    • Woods v Durable Suites: c. provided dermatitis cream + encouraged use, but c. did not use NOT ([Singleton LJ]: employer not required to ‘stand over workmen of age + experience every moment’).

    • must take account of employee’s characteristics (Paris v Stepney BC) – BUT ONLY REASONABLE STEPS (Withers v Perry Chain Co: no work w/out chemicals available not reasonably avoidable injury).

    Standard & Breach

    - Standard: reasonably competent employee (Latimer v AEC: need not be perfect).

    - Objective test: was reasonable care provided to employees IN ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES?

    • characteristics of employee (Paris v Stepney BC).

    • reasonable precautions in circumstances (Latimer v AEC: sawdust on floor; Woods v Durable Suites: providing dermatitis cream; Yorkshire Traction Co v Walter Searby: no protective screen).

    • N.B. employee must also take reasonable steps for safety (O’Reilly v Nat. Rail Appliances: hammered bomb).


    - Factual causation: ‘but for’ test (McWillims...

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