Vicarious liability – bank liable for acts of doctor


A recent High Court decision (Various Claimants -v- Barclays Bank Plc) is a useful reminder to employers about the scope of vicarious liability. This case was brought against Barclays by 126 claimants, who alleged that they had been sexually assaulted by Dr Bates (who had in fact died in 2009). Dr Bates was a self-employed independent contractor, who carried out medical assessments on prospective employees. The claimants had no choice but to see Mr Bates if they wanted to work at Barclays. The Court held that the relationship between Barclays and Dr Bates was akin to employment, and the tort was sufficiently closely connected with that quasi-employment – consequently, Barclays was vicariously liable. This is the latest in a line of recent cases illustrating that vicarious liability can extend beyond the traditional employment relationship.

Justin Costley


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