On the 3rd May 2001, the House of Lords gave their judgment to Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22. By overruling a previous decision of the Court of Appeal; Trotman v North Yorkshire County Council  LGR 584. The House of Lords widened the scope of vicarious liability to include acts of sexual abuse committed during the course of employment.
Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22 involved a school for boys with emotional and behavioral problems. The school was owned by Hesley Hall Limited who employed a warden for the school, Mr. Grain. Unknown to the employers, Mr. Grain sexually abused some of the boys under his care. The victims brought an action against Mr. Grain's employers claiming damages for vicarious liability.
The question before the House of Lords was whether the employers should be held vicariously liable for the acts of his employee. Lord Steyn acknowledged the complexity of issues involving vicarious liability, in balancing two sides, one being compensating a tort victim against a financially responsible defendant and the other being 1the reluctance to unfairly charge business enterprises.
[...] As Lord Millett recognized, in the case of boarding schools, prisons, nursing homes, old people's homes, geriatric wards and other residential homes for the young or vulnerable, there is an inherent risk that indecent assaults may occur If such offences occur in circumstances where a close connection is established with the abuser's employment, strict liability on the part of the employer will be imposed. Bibliography http://www.parliament.the-stationery- office.co.uk/pa/ld200001/ldjudgmt/jd010503/lister-1.htm Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22 Vicarious Liability for Employers June 2001 By Andrew Scott-Howman, Senior Associate A warning sounded by the House of Lords http://www.bellgully.com/publications/emp_2001_06_14_liability.html Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, July/August 2001 http://www.legal500.com/devs/uk/ep/ukep_288.htm Paul Matthews, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, August 2002. Compensation Culture in Education: Facing the little devils! http:// /search?q=cache:NyvLZUopONgC:www.risksociety.com/upload s/papers/Compenasation_Culture_in_Education.pdf+Lister+v+Hesley+Hall+%5B2001 %5D+UKHL+22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Reynolds porter Chamberlain 2001 http:// /search?q=cache:hAYAC0JsmKcC:www.rpc.co.uk/main/ . [...]
[...] The court by a majority held that the employers in Jacobi were not vicarious liable The House of Lords was impressed with the Canadian judgment and decided to apply it to Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22. Following a line of decisions taken from the law of bailment and started by Morris v C W Martin & Sons Ltd  1 QB 716, and Scarman LJ's suggestion that Rose v Plenty  1 WLR 141, 147-148 meant that it was not necessary to ask whether the warden's acts of abuse were modes of doing authorized acts, vicarious liability could be established on the basis that the defendants had undertaken to care for the boys through the warden and hence there was a connection substantial enough to hold the defendants vicariously liable and the two Canadian decisions, the Law Lords found unanimously that the defendants were vicariously liable for the sexual abuse committed by the warden. [...]
[...] 1 Vicarious Liability for Employers June 2001By Andrew Scott- Howman, Senior AssociateA warning sounded by the House of Lordshttp://www.bellgully.com/publications/emp_2001_06_14_liability.html(2) Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22 Lord Steyn quoting Fleming's The Law of Torts, 9th ed (1998), pp 409-410. (paragraph 14 of his judgement)(3) Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22 Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer July/August 2001 http://www.legal500.com/devs/uk/ep/ukep_288.htm(5) Lister v Hesley Hall  UKHL 22 Lord Steyn quoting Salmond's Salmond, Law of Torts, 9th ed (1936), p 95; Salmond and Heuston, Law of Torts, 21st ed (1996), p 443. [...]
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