New Judgment: The Catholic Child Welfare Society & Ors v Various claimants & Ors  UKSC 56
21 Wednesday Nov 2012
On appeal from:  EWCA Civ 1106.
The question arising in this appeal was whether the Institute was vicariously liable for alleged acts of sexual and physical abuse of children at a school. The Court allowed the appeal; it was fair, just and reasonable for the Institute to share vicarious liability with the school’s managers for sexual abuse committed by the brother teachers. The criteria to be demonstrated to establish vicarious liability involved a synthesis of two stages: first, whether the relationship between the member and the Institute was one which was capable of giving rise to vicarious liability; and secondly examination of the connection that linked the relationship between them with the member’s wrongful act or omission. The Institute was an unincorporated association but because of the manner in which it carried on its affairs, Lord Phillips considered that it was appropriate to approach the case as if it was a corporate body existing to perform the function of providing a Christian education, able to own property and other assets through charitable trusts. The relationship between the Institute and the teaching brothers at the School had all of the essential elements of that between employer and employee. In terms of the second stage: the necessary close connection in the relationship between the defendant and the wrongdoer was established where a defendant, whose relationship with the abuser put it in the position to use the abuser to carry on its business, did so in a way which created or significantly enhanced the risk of abuse.