Kafagi v JBW Group Ltd


Cases Citation

[2018] EWCA Civ 1157

C alleged trespass to his property, possessions, and person by a bailiff enforcing a Penalty Charge Notice.

C further alleged unlawful arrest, and conviction as a result of the bailiff’s false evidence.

C took no action against the bailiff, but sued D, asserting vicarious liability. D said the bailiff was engaged on a ‘self-employed’ basis, and so denied vicariously liability.

D succeeded at trial and first appeal. C was granted permission for a second appeal on the basis of the social importance of the case, and movement in the law towards a wider bounds of vicarious liability (see e.g. Cox v MoJ [2016] UKSC 10).

The Court of Appeal agreed with the Respondent’ that the structure of the relationship between D and the bailiff was not ‘akin’ to employment, and so there could be no vicarious liability.

While not a volte face from the Court of Appeal on the issues, the judgment provides some solace to businesses that sub-contract. It had appeared the higher courts were moving to near strict liability for the acts of others engaged by larger businesses on any basis. There is at least some precedent now for establishing the limits of vicarious liability.

Related Barristers

David R. White

David R. White
Year of Call: 2009