Vicarious liability even without employment contract

What sort of relationship has to exist between a tortfeasor and a defendant for the latter to be vicariously liable? The Supreme Court’s answer to that question in Cox v Ministry of Justice is examined by Rob Weir QC who appeared on behalf of the successful claimant in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. The analysis was first published by LexisPSL. The Supreme Court, in dismissing the Ministry of Justice’s appeal, held that the prison service was vicariously liable for the negligence of a prisoner who, while carrying on activities assigned to him by the service, had accidentally injured one of its employees.

What were the main issues? What test did the Supreme Court apply? What was its decisions and does this leave any grey areas? What are the practical implications?

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