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MoJ liable for negligence of prisoner working in kitchen

The Supreme Court has unanimously held that the Ministry of Justice was vicariously liable for the negligence of a prisoner who, while working in the prison kitchens, had dropped a sack of rice causing injury to an employee of the prison.

This case provides a further example of the extension of vicarious liability beyond the traditional employment relationship. The court noted that an earlier decision had given rise to a "modern theory of vicarious liability", in which a relationship is in principle capable of giving rise to vicarious liability where an individual carries on activities for the defendant's benefit as an integral part of its business, and where the defendant, in assigning those activities to the individual, has created a risk of the tort being committed.

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