Vicarious Liability for sport at work - from Scotland

A firefighter was on a course run by his employer. Part of the course traditionally involved a football match. In the match he was tackled late and high by a colleague.

The hearing involved two main points:

1) Was there vicarious liability for the actions of a colleague in such a works match?

Held: following Lister -v- Hesley Hall (2001) UKHL 22 the test was whether the game was closely connected with employment and in an event where the game was traditional it could be inferred it was expected by his employer he would take part and it was fair and just to find vicarious liability applied to the employer for any negligent tackles (the defendant’s submission that the game was informal and coincidental to employment rejected).

2) Was the tackle negligent?

Held: in the absence of detailed, skilled, objective eye witness evidence there was insufficient factual evidence to show the tackler had committed a tackle in an unreasonable manner in all the circumstances (as opposed to an error of judgement that a reasonable player might have made): Condon -v- Basi (1985) 1 WLR distinguished.

So the claimant lost but the stretching of application of vicarious liability after Lister was re-enforced.

(OH ) Sharp -v- Highland and Islands Fire Board 2005 GWD 515

On sports injuries generally 2 Temple Gardens prepared a handout recently for a talk given by pro-footballer turned barrister Darren Eales .

P.S. Thompsons Scotland now sponsor the Scottish Women’s Premier League for football , renamed Thompsons SWPL.