The Court of Appeal handed down judgment in MXX v A Secondary School [2023] EWCA Civ 996 on 25th August 2023, dismissing the Claimant’s appeal. The judgment further clarifies the approach courts should take when dealing with the difficult issue of vicarious liability. Adam Weitzman KC acted for the respondent.

The case involved the abuse of a pupil at the respondent school by a one week work experience student. Giving the judgment of the Court, Nicola Davies LJ stated that while the work experience student was in a position akin to employment, there was no close connection between his tortious acts and the role delegated to him by school. Importantly, he had no pastoral responsibility or authority over the students with whom he interacted.

The case provides useful guidance on liability for grooming, a contentious and increasingly litigated issue. It illustrates that more than physical proximity is required before an employer can be vicariously liable for a member of staff working with children; the grooming must additionally involve some misuse of a role of responsibility.

The full judgment is available here.


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