News & Resources

Judicial services company not vicariously liable for sub-contracted bailiff – Court of Appeal

18th May 2018

David R White successfully resisted the Claimant’s second appeal in Kafagi v JBW Group Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 1157.

David was instructed by Christine Eva, Legal and Compliance Manager, JBW Group Ltd.

The Claimant (C) alleged to have suffered trespass to his property, possessions, and person as a result of the unlawful actions of a bailiff enforcing a Penalty Charge Notice.

C further alleged he was unlawfully arrested, and convicted as a result of the bailiff’s false evidence.

C took no action against the bailiff directly, but instead sued the Defendant (D), asserting vicarious liability. D admitted engaging the bailiff on a ‘self-employed’ basis, but denied that it was vicariously liable for the bailiff’s actions, on the basis that there was no relationship of, or akin to, employment.

D succeeded on this dispositive preliminary point at trial, and on the first appeal. C was granted permission by the Court of Appeal for a second appeal on the basis of the potential social importance of the issues in the case, and the general movement in the law towards a wider understanding of the bounds of vicarious liability following cases such as Cox v MoJ [2016] UKSC 10.

The Court of Appeal unanimously agreed with the Respondent’s submissions that the regulatory regime in place in this instance, and the structure of the relationship between D and the bailiff meant that vicarious liability could not be founded.

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

Related Barristers

David R. White

David R. White
Year of Call: 2009

Close X

TEMPLE GARDEN CHAMBERS is a market leading set with recognised excellence in a myriad of practice areas with awarded leaders in twelve specialist areas. TGC has the privilege of being well placed in the Temple and The Hague with superb facilities.

Currently consisting of 17 silks and 60 juniors with outstanding leadership and a long established clerking team acknowledged for their exceptional client services and business development, we are keen to expand upon our key areas.

To accommodate the growth in our core practice areas we are inviting applications from established practitioners and/or teams to further enhance our excellent reputation in the following fields:

• Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
• Inquests & Inquiries
• Health & Safety
• Costs & Litigation Funding

TGC is widely recognised for its friendly ethos and its commitment to Equality & Diversity and Wellbeing. We are especially keen to encourage applications from underrepresented groups at the bar – women, people with disabilities, those from ethnic minority groups and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Applications will be treated with the strictest confidence and should be addressed to the Head of Chambers, Keith Morton QC

In advance of any formal application both Keith Morton QC and Dean Norton (Senior Clerk) would be delighted to have a confidential discussion. To arrange a meeting please contact Dean on 020 7842 8641 or