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Who's to Blame?

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 12 December 2012

In the first of a new series, Clive Anderson and guests discuss the legal liability of organisations for crimes or other misbehaviours committed by people who work for them.

In the wake of Jimmy Savile and other recent abuse cases, complex legal questions have arisen about who, apart from the perpetrators themselves, should be held to blame - and liable to pay compensation.

Clive's guests, all leading experts in the field, argue about the way the courts are currently applying the law of vicarious liability to hold employers to blame for the actions of their staff, even when there is no indication of any fault on their part.

In what all agree is rapidly becoming a legal minefield, the courts are widening their interpretation of who can be legitimately sued in these circumstances. Bodies are increasingly being held liable for the actions of people for whom they are responsible but do not formally employ. This could include freelancers or other casual workers or even volunteers working for a charity.

Senior barrister, Edward Faulks says the law is being misused to identify parties with deep pockets and to ensure victims receive compensation from someone.

Producer: Brian King
An Above The Title production for BBC Radio 4.


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