Vicarious Liability for the Wrongs of Volunteers

Graw, Stephen (2022) Vicarious Liability for the Wrongs of Volunteers. In: [Presented at the Australasian Law Academics Association Annual Conference 2022]. From: Australasian Law Academics Association Annual Conference 2022, 7-9 July 2022, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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Vicarious liability is imposed on defendants, who are not personally at fault, for wrongs committed by others. To that extent it is a principle of strict liability and, consequently, has long been kept ‘within clear limits’. Traditionally, that meant that it only applied in employer/employee relationships where the wrong was committed ‘in the course of the employee’s employment’.

With the advent of the sexual abuse cases the courts were faced with claims that did not fit nicely into that traditional mold. Either the perpetrators were not employees or, if they were, the abuse did not occur ‘in the course of employment’. This meant that if the schools, churches and charities with the money (or the insurance) were to be held responsible, the traditional limits of vicarious liability had to be stretched. But how was that to be done without abandoning principle and imposing liability simply on some ‘vague notion of justice’ instead. This paper examines one aspect of the dilemma which has yet to be fully, or satisfactorily, resolved ̶ how to deal with the wrongs of ‘volunteers’ and other non-employees ̶ and how the approaches to the question by the Australian and UK courts have differed.

Item ID: 77829
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: Vicarios liability; volunteers; Australia.
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Copyright Information: © Stephen Graw
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 00:28
FoR Codes: 48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4806 Private law and civil obligations > 480605 Tort law @ 100%
SEO Codes: 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2304 Justice and the law > 230401 Civil justice @ 100%
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