Impractical Jokers: Employers' Liability for 'Horseplay'

Motson, Fred (2021). Impractical Jokers: Employers' Liability for 'Horseplay'. Professional Negligence, 37(2) pp. 73–84.


Recent decisions in the High Court demonstrate a continuing trend of denying liability of employers for injuries to employees caused by the practical jokes or ‘horseplay’ of fellow workers. This article reviews the approach of the law to such claims both as a matter of vicarious liability and as a matter of employers’ primary liability. The author suggests that the ‘close connection’ test has been applied in an unnecessarily restrictive formulation regarding such claims and that despite seeming retrenchment by the Supreme Court in the wider area of vicarious liability, there is still scope for a broader approach to horseplay claims.

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