Vicarious libaility in the Supreme Court

Four Courts dome, via the Courts.ie website.Law reports from today’s Irish Times:

O’Keeffe v Hickey [2008] IESC 72 Supreme Court, Judgments were delivered on December 19th, 2008 by Fennelly J (Murray CJ and Denham J concurring) and Hardiman J; Geoghegan J dissenting.

Fennelly J Minister not liable for abuse by principal:

There was no employment relationship between school principal Mr Hickey and the second-named defendant, the Minister for Education and Science. On normal principles, the State has no vicarious liability for the acts of a teacher appointed by the manager of a national school, and there is no legal basis for the imposition on the State of vicarious liability in this case.

Hardiman J Minister and State were distanced from management of the school:

… the Minister’s absence of direct control over the first-named defendant prevented a finding against him.

Geoghegan J (dissenting) Exemption from vicarious liability by State is not just and appeal should be allowed:

Applying “the general modern principles underlying vicarious liability”, he allowed the appeal.

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