Scaled Management Systems

Part 2 – Liability and Employer’s Duty

The history of encoded precedent

  • 1862 – Chief Justice Cockburn & later Lord Thankerton in the House of Lords encode common law precedent into standard legislation
  • A clear distinction arises between delegable & personal responsibility
  • The problem had always existed how to define the delegation of authority & responsibility to employees who have no or little control over decisions made in their workplace
  • If responsibility could not be delegated then to what extent does an employer remain liable for enacting their duty of care?

Q & A:

Question Answer
What connection is there between this information and that found in legislation? Managers & supervisors are agents of the employer
What principle is involved? A clear directive and classification of duty with distinctions on the extent of liability


Defining the interpretation of care & responsibility

  • Whether the employer performs this duty themselves or through an agent (servants) a failure to ensure the duty is performed becomes the employer’s negligence.
  • This includes acts and omissions.
  • Therefore, Lord Shaw stated (1912):
    • Employers must provide competent staff
    • Adequate materials, premises, plant & equipment
    • Proper systems of work
    • Effective supervision

Q & A:

Question Answer
What connection is there between the 1912 definition and current legislation? Codification of Common Law
What principle is involved? Vicarious liability. An incident resulting in injury with a causal link to breaches of the 4 principles above immediately places the employer in a position of liability