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A History of Private Law in Scotland: Volume 2: Obligations$
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Kenneth Reid and Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299288

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299288.001.0001

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Vicarious Liability

Vicarious Liability

(p.584) 19 Vicarious Liability
A History of Private Law in Scotland: Volume 2: Obligations


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses vicarious liability, an absolute liability of an employer for those delicts committed by his employee in the course of the employment. The basis of this principle lies within the concept that just as the employer benefits from the fruits of the labour of his employee, he should bear the risk of the harm to the third party the labour might cause. Its basis in policy meanwhile is that it is the employer rather than the employee who have the means to pay for damages for the injury caused by the employee’s wrong. Vicarious liability emerged during the first half of the 19th century and has the same substantial form to its current form. While the law was troubled by the introduction of common employment law in earlier times which disappeared in 1948, the doctrine of vicarious liability developed to meet new situations which were emerging such as the pro hac vice employment, servants who are not under any real control by their masters and servants who deliberately caused harm.

Keywords:   vicarious liability, liability, delicts, employment, damages, injury

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