• Robert Spicer

VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Limitation

Case TVZ v Manchester City Football Club Ltd [2022] EWHC 7, Hugh Court

Facts Eight men who had been sexually abused by a football coach in the 1980s claimed compensation in negligence from MCFC. They claimed that the club was vicariously liable for the abuse because the coach had been employed by it as a scout and as a coach. The claims were out of time and had been issued more than 20 years after the expiry of the limitation period. On behalf of the claimants it was argued that the court should exercise its discretion under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980.

Decision 1. The claims were dismissed. 2. All eight claimants had been abused as alleged. 3. In relation to limitation, the court’s ability to reach clear and reliable conclusions about the relationship between the club and the coach had been badly compromised by the delay such that it would not be fair to expect the club to meet any of the claims. It would not be equitable to disapply the limitation period. 4. The abuser had not been employed by the club. His relationship with the club was noy akin to employment. There was nothing to suggest that the club was able to control his activities. The club was not vicariously liable. 5. Even if the coach’s relationship with the club had been akin to employment, the abuse was not so closely connected with conduct authorised by the club that it could properly be regarded as having been carried out by the coach while acting in the ordinary course of his duties. The abuse generally took place at his home.

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