Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rugby club liable for on assault on the pitch

The Times is reporting this morning that a the Court of Appeal has ruled that a rugby club can be held vicariously liable for an assault perpetrated by one of its players on the pitch.

"Gravil v Carroll and Another

Before Sir Anthony Clarke Master of the Rolls, Lady Justice Smith and Lord Justice Richards

Judgment June 18, 2008

A rugby club was vicariously liable for an assault by one of its semi-professional players on a member of the opposing team during a match...

Redruth RFC provided rugby for the local community; it made no profit and it provided its players with a contract of employment to avoid losing them. It was only about ten years ago that such clubs began to employ their players. No question of vicarious liability on the part of such clubs could have arisen until then.

The critical factor was the fact that the first defendant was employed by the club. The question for the court was whether the club was vicariously liable to the claimant for the consequences of the first defendant's tort, in punching him in the face and causing him injury.

An employer was vicariously liable for the torts of his employees committed in the course of their employment. Where the wrongful conduct could fairly and properly be regarded as done while acting in the ordinary course of the employee’s employment it would ordinarily be fair and just to hold the employer liable...

The first defendant was acting in the course of his employment when he punched the claimant."

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