‘A Practical Guide to Vicarious Liability’ by Mariel Irvine


Paperback: 978-1-911035-79-4
Published: November 2018
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Vicarious liability is an emotive issue when it concerns the imposition of liability on a blameless party, in circumstances where someone else is in the wrong. It is a flexible doctrine which depends on public policy. Since Lister in 2002, the law has been undergoing fundamental change. The Supreme Court has decided several cases in the last six years: Armes, Mohamud, Cox, the Christian Brothers case. These and other leading authorities are reviewed.

In Dubai Aluminium Co Ltd v Salaam [2002] UKHL 48 Lord Nicolls made reference to the infinite range of circumstances where the issue arises. The crucial feature, or features, either producing or negativing liability vary widely from one case, or type of case to the next. Essentially the court makes an evaluative judgement in each case, having regard to all the circumstances and, importantly, having regard also to the assistance provided by previous court decisions…

This book seeks to provide a practical guide to the evolving policy considerations which underpin this doctrine in the law of negligence, and in intentional and reliance torts.


Mariel Irvine, solicitor and principal of Mariel Irvine Solicitors, founded the firm in 2002, after some years as a partner in a large insurance litigation law firm in the City. Insurers, the police, the Prison Governors’ Association, the Police Superintendents’ Association and others regularly instruct her regarding assault, stress at work and harassment claims; inquests; pay, discrimination and other employment disputes; and privacy and data protection issues. She acted for an interested party in the London Bombings Inquests and more recently in the Manchester Arena Bombing Inquests.

Chambers has recommended Mariel as a leading practitioner in Police Law for a number of years. In 2018 the Parliamentary Review, an independent publication which aims to share best practice among policy makers and business leaders, invited her to contribute to their inaugural Law and Justice Review, as a best practice representative. She regularly gives presentations and seminars. It was a webinar on vicarious liability that triggered this book.


Chapter One – Overview
Chapter Two – Stage One of the Two Stage Test
Chapter Three – Negligence – Stage Two of the Two Stage Test
Chapter Four – Intentional Torts – Assault – Stage Two of the Two Stage Test
Chapter Five – Intentional Torts – Sexual Assault – Stage Two of the Two Stage Test
Chapter Six – Reliance Torts