Reconceptualising Strict Liability for the Tort of Another by Christine Beuermann

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When and on what basis does strict liability for the torts of another arise in the modern law of torts? What tests determine the boundaries of such liability? Those questions, answered in current legal parlance by reference to the concepts of vicarious liability and breach of non-delegable duty, continue to be intractable. Vicarious liability and non-delegable duties are notoriously difficult areas of law. The problems are exacerbated by the sheer volume of judicial and legal commentary on those topics. Vicarious liability, in particular, has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent years, as the concept has been subjected to the stresses caused by litigation seeking to impose vicarious liability for intentional torts, often historical sexual abuse committed against children. Indeed, the High Court of Australia has insisted that vicarious liability, and not breach of non-delegable duty, is the only mechanism available for dealing with such cases (New South Wales v Lepore; and see now Prince Alfred College Inc v ADC). This is despite real doubts as to whether vicarious liability is the better fit (as will become clear further below).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalTorts Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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