Robert Seabrook QC and Justin Levinson, instructed by David McClenaghan, Bolt Burdon Kemp, successfully represented the Claimant in FZO v London Borough of Haringey [2020] EWCA Civ 180.

The London Borough of Haringey appealed against the High Court decision that it was vicariously liable for damages arising out of abuse committed by a PE teacher against a 13 year old boy over 4 year period.

The court applied the two-stage test set out in Various Claimants v Catholic Child Welfare Society and others [2012] and Mohammed v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc [2016]. It found that the first test was satisfied, as the teacher was employed by the the local authority at the time. The second stage considered whether there was sufficient connection between the teacher’s position and wrongful conduct for the local authority to be held liable.

On reflection, the court found that the law of ‘vicarious liability’ is not as narrow as it once was, particularly in cases like this one concerning abuses of trust. It is less relevant that the abuse might have occurred outside of designated working hours or the workplace, thus the local authority was found to be vicariously liable.

This is thought to be the highest award ever made to a survivor of abuse in the UK. Read our more detailed original news item here.