A Carton of Milk, a Bump to the Head and One Legal Headache: Vicarious Liability in the High Court of Australia
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 294-305, 2006
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/26
The employee-independent contractor distinction is crucial to the imposition of vicarious liability on employers. The most recent consideration of this issue by the High Court of Australia in Sweeney v Boylan Nominees Pty Ltd (2006) 226 CLR 161. In this case, the High Court of Australia considered the concept of 'representative agent' as a basis for imposing vicarious liability for negligence. It also demonstrates limits on the extent to which courts will consider changing socio-economic and workplace realities. This article argues that, rather than introducing a third category of 'representative agent', perhaps a more fundamental reconsideration of the employee-independent contractor distinction should be undertaken.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: Negligence, Personal injuries, Vicarious liability, Employees, Independent contractors, Australia, Representative agent, Workplace relations
JEL Classification: K31, K10, K30
Date posted: March 12, 2008
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