Andrew Bell, ‘“Double, double toil and trouble”: recent movements in vicarious liability’

… In the three decisions to be discussed here only one dissent was delivered on the vicarious liability issues and collectively those cases have produced just five opinions. For this reason, we are left with relatively little material with which to unpick (and attack) the developing lines of argument. The changes are nevertheless radical, the results in the cases at times far from obvious, and numerous emerging ideas subject to important criticism. In light of this, there is little to be done but attempt to outline the recent case law, pinpointing what seem to be guiding features for future development and noting the principles, policies and ideas which are its driving forces. The latter include, in particular, enterprise liability (especially in the context of modern commercial disintegration and the gig economy), compensation and insurance, and distributive and social policy ideas. Additionally, an overarching, remedial sense of the liability’s purpose seems to be slowly emerging, apparently starting to flip the issue from a prospective question of where liability should fall in respect of particular relational matrixes to a retrospective question of who is going to pay for harm caused. The focus below will be on the Supreme Court decisions of the past three years, with further cases introduced to supplement that outline. Further litigation in the area will soon follow, however, and caution is called for …

€ (Westlaw)

Andrew J Bell, ‘”Double, double toil and trouble”: recent movements in vicarious liability’ [2018] Journal of Personal Injury Law 235.

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