Legal News

The Supreme Court decision in Various Claimants v Barclays (when is an employer vicariously liability for acts of an OH practitioner?) has been considered by the Court of Appeal in a case on dentists.

The Court of Appeal case concerned whether the owner of a dental practice was vicariously liable for alleged negligence of (self-employed) Associate Dentists.

The Court of Appeal held the owner in this case was in any event liable to the patient under a non-delegable duty of care.

However the owner would not be vicariously liable for the Associate Dentists, despite the fact that looked at without knowledge of the contractual arrangements, the Associate Dentists were carrying on their activities as an integral part of the owner’s business and for its benefit, and not conducting recognisably independent businesses of their own.

Following the Barclays case, said the Court of Appeal, the critical question now appeared to have reverted to whether the relationship of the alleged tortfeasor (the Associate Dentist) with the defendant (the owner) could properly be described as being ‘akin’ – or ‘analogous’ – to employment, with the focus being on the contractual arrangements between tortfeasor and defendant.

The case may go to the Supreme Court. It is Hughes v Rattan,

More: OH practitioner’s duty of care in civil law>Vicarious liability: OH professional not directly employed.