Tuesday, 15 February 2011

UK: England and Wales: partnership can be a defendant under Protection from Harassment Act (1997)

The Court of Appeal has today delivered an important decision - Iqbal v Dean Manson Solicitors [2011] EWCA Civ 123 - on the operation of the Protection from Harassment Act (1997). Of particular note is the court's finding that a partnership may be made a defendant to a claim under the Act for the statutory tort of harassment, whatever the financial consequences might be for individual partners (the trial judge had held, in obiter dicta, that a partnership could not be a defendant). Rix LJ observed (at para. [62]):

It would ... drive a coach and horses through the Act if unincorporated bodies, including partnerships, could not be at least civilly liable for harassment. It would be particularly surprising if protesters, who associate themselves into groups of unincorporated bodies, could evade liability by the device of making partners of one another".

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