Thursday 28 November 2013

UK: Scotland: The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 and director liability

In Richardson v Pitt-Stanley [1985] QB 123 a majority of the Court of Appeal in England concluded that the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 did not give rise to civil liability on the part of the employer or of a director of the employing company for the failure to have in place insurance covering bodily injury or disease sustained by employees in the course of their employment. Earlier this week, sitting in the Court of Session (Outer House)Lord Glennie delivered his opinion in Campbell v Peter Gordon Joiners Ltd. [2013] CSOH 181 and declined to follow Richardson. Noting that it was undesirable for the courts in England and Scotland to reach a different view on the effect of UK wide legislation, Lord Glennie nevertheless held that the Act not only created an obligation on the part of the directors of the employing company to ensure that insurance was in place but also gave a right to a person affected to sue the directors for a breach of that obligation. He also considered, but rejected, arguments for such a right based on the common law (and in doing so briefly touched upon directors' statutory duties under the Companies Act 2006).

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