Colleagues may be interested in a rather curious decision of the Irish
High Court in an action concerning vicarious liability. The judgment
was given in 2014 but I have only come across it recently.
In Hickey v Mcgowan  IEHC 19, the Irish High Court held both the
provincial of a religious order and the manager of a school (who was
also a member of that order) vicariously liable for sexual abuse
carried out by a member of the order, committed when he was working as
a teacher at the school.
The provincial was held liable as a representative of the order,
following Catholic Child Welfare Society & Ors. v. Various Claimants
(FC) & Ors, a decision of the UK Supreme Court.
The provincial sought to argue that the manager, himself a member of
the order (as noted, wwas vicariously liable.
This curious state of affairs arose because the manager was deceased
and had not been sued. Any claim against him was statute barred.
By virtue of Section 35(1)(i) of the Civil Liability Act 1961, where a
Plaintiff does not sue all the wrongdoers responsible for their damage
and a claim against any such wrongdoer becomes statute barred, the
Plaintiff is to be treated as responsible for the wrong to that
Thus, in this case the manager's vic seems more appropriate where what
is in issue is direct personal liability e.g. breach of a duty of care
which the manager himself owed.
The attribution of "dual vicarious liability" is also new to me, I
must say - even in cases of borrowed employees, liability generally
attaches to one employer or the other but not both.
This issue is likely to be significant in future claims because claims
against managers and others who Defendants will seek to have held
vicariously liable will often be statute barred.
A link to the decision is here, though one can but hope that it will
be overturned sooner rather than later.