Study Notes

Key Case | Rose v Plenty (1976) | Vicarious Liability - In the Course of Employment

A-Level, BTEC National
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 15 Apr 2021

Where an employee undertakes an act strictly prohibited by their employer, this does not prevent liability being imposed on the employer vicariously where the act is clearly still during the execution of contractual duties.


Claimant: Child

Defendant: Co-op services, employer of Plenty

Facts: Plenty delivered milk for his employer, who specifically notified Plenty and alike, that they were strictly not to use children to help them with their deliveries, despite this, plenty did so. Plenty drove negligently whilst the child was on the back of the truck and he suffered injuries to his foot as a result. A claim was sought against Plenty as an individual, and his employers via vicarious liability.

Outcome: Liable

Legal principle: The mere fact that the employers warned Plenty not to undertake the Act did not immediately exclude the prospect of vicarious liability. Liability is proved as against an employer if the tortfeasor is acting in the course of their employment, here Plenty was acting in the course of his employment, and thus the employers were vicariously liable.

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