Case Analysis: Sprod Bnf V Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd

Introduction At first, the NSW Supreme Court found that the Public Relation Oriented Security was not vicariously liable as the assault was motivated by guard’s blood lust and want beyond the reasonable acts. In Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd[1], the court of appeal was faced with complex difficulty concerning the employee’s authority either the authority of the employee is within the scope of employment or not which may resulted in vicarious liability.

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Material Facts The appellant, Mr. Sprod who was acting drunk and assaulting inside a pizza shop, prompted the owner of the shop to call security guards from the respondent, Public Relations Oriented Security Ptd Ltd. The assault occurred after the appellant ignore the guard’s warning. The court of appeal found that the assault was ‘incidental’ to the employment of the security guards and there is a connection between the unauthorized acts of the guards and the acts with their employer.

In the end, the court of appeal held that the assault should be regarded as within the scope of their employment, thus, vicarious liability was apply to the respondent and the appeal was upheld. Legal Issues The legal issued in this case is 1. Regarding the unauthorized acts by the guards to extend their employer with vicarious liability[2]. 2. The possibility that an employer can be liable for unauthorized acts by its employee if there is connection with authorized acts[3]. 3. Recognizing the reason for the assault was not an independent act from the guards but in order to fulfil their job[4]. . The nature and seriousness of the criminal act committed[5]. Rationes Decidendi Following the decision from this case, it stated that the employee is liable for the act of its employee if there is a closely connection with employee’s acts in carrying the employer’s business[6]. With this connection, although the acts of the employee are not within the scope of employment which resulting in criminal acts, the employer is being extend to vicarious liability[7]. Critical Analysis and Evaluation

In reaching the decision, New South Wales v Lepore (2003) was apply to this case where it stated that employer is liable for the criminal acts[8], when it is: 1. Conducting to the scope of employee’s employment. 2. In furtherance of the employer’s business. In applying both situation, the second statement is consistent with this case which make the court extend vicarious liability to the respondent. But Lepore case can be challenged as there is a different between both cases. In Lepore, the unauthorized acts is sexual assault which is different with criminal assault arise from this case.

The significance of this decision lies on the connection with an employee’s acts in carrying the task by employer which is tested in Deatons Pty Limited v Flew (1949)[9] and Dyer v Munday (1895)[10]. In order to make sure the appellant can not cause any trouble to shop, the guards act an authorized act in performing the task given by respondent. In which there an relationship as Lo Surdo, A. (2008) said “The salient feature of this case is that when determining whether a person may be vicariously liable for the acts of another, it is vital to determine the law which underpins that relationship. Accordingly, the respondent should vicariously liable to the wrongdoing of its employee. The Honour observes that the guards act was not done in the scope of employment but was an independent act of their interest[11]. In Starks v RSM Security Pty Limited (2004)[12], the employer is less likely to be vicariously liable if there are acts such as personal animosity. Thus the employer will not be extending with vicarious liability. Commercial Implications The decision in Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security had two key assumptions.

Firstly, the employers can be liable of the improper act of their employee. In common-sense point, employee conduct task give by employer and work for the employer’s profit, thus the employer should be liable of all the risk happening in any consequences[13]. Secondly, the employers must constitute their employee with appropriate action. Although the employer held an appropriate license, the employer may still be liable of their acts due to the employee negligence[14]. Especially in regard with dangerous environment, assault scenario can easily arise due to the security where alcohol increases the assault[15].

Legal Development Further area left unanswered by Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security was highlighted in McCracken v Melbourne Storm Rugby League Footbal Club (2005)[16]. This case stated that employer is imposed vicarious liability upon employer for animosity act or criminal act by employees. The case also stated that there must be closely connection within the authority of employees and act by which their employer was considered to be vicariously liable. This case may resolve the entire issues rise in Sprof bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security. Conclusion

The “connection” of an employee’s acts to his or her employment may sometimes extend to events that occur outside the physical confines of the workplace. References Lo Surdo, A. (2008) The latest word from the High Court on vicarious liability, LAW SOCIETY JOURNAL, September 45 (8), pp. 64-65. Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319. State of New South Wales v Lepore [2003] 212 CLR 511, 536 per Gleeson CJ. Fisher, C. (2008) Are Employers Liable for an Employee’s Criminal Doing? February, accesed: Deatons Pty Limited v Flew (1949) 79 CLR 370, 381 per Dixon J.

Dyer v Munday [1895] 1 QB 742, 746. Starks v RSM Security Pty Limited (2004) Aus Torts Reports 81-768, per Beazly JA. Andrew (2008), Security Guard’s Boss Left with a Fight on His Han, April. Thomas & Liistro (2007), Employer Held Vicariously Liable for Bouncers’ “Bloodlust”. McCracken v Melbourne Storm Rugby League Footbal Club (2005) NSWSC 107. ———————– [1] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319. [2] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 8A [3] State of New South Wales v Lepore [2003] 212 CLR 511, 536 per Gleeson CJ. [4] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 38C [5] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 46 [6] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 34 per Cooper AJ. [7] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 61 per Kirby J. [8] Fisher, C. (2008) Are Employers Liable for an Employee’s Criminal Doing? February, accesed: [9] Deatons Pty Limited v Flew (1949) 79 CLR 370, 381 per Dixon J. 10] Dyer v Munday [1895] 1 QB 742, 746. [11] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 37. [12] Starks v RSM Security Pty Limited (2004) Aus Torts Reports 81-768, per Beazly JA. [13] Andrew (2008), Security Guard’s Boss Left with a Fight on His Han, April. [14] Sprod bnf v Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd [2007] NSWCA 319, 33. [15] Thomas & Liistro (2007), Employer Held Vicariously Liable for Bouncers’ “Bloodlust”. [16] McCracken v Melbourne Storm Rugby League Footbal Club (2005) NSWSC 107.

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