Vicarious Liability

Paul Byekwaso v Attorney General ((CIVIL APPEAL NO.10 OF 2002)) [2004] UGCA 9 (2 March 2004);


Search Summary: 

The appellant’s motor vehicle was involved in an accident with a vehicle
belonging to the ministry of defense and brought an action in tort to
recover damages against the respondent in his representative capacity.
The trial court dismissed the appellant’s claim though the respondent had
not filed a defense.

Headnote and Holding: 

The trial court observed that a master is liable for acts of a servant done in
the course of employment; course of employment meaning that the
employee is not doing something for their own purpose and a master
remains liable for wrong methods used; and in the case of a motor vehicle,
in order to fix the owner with liability, it is necessary to show either that
the driver was the owner's servant or that at the material time, the driver
was acting on the owner's behalf as his agent. In order to establish the
existence of the agency relationship it was necessary to show that the
driver was using the car at the owner's request, express or implied or in
the performance of the task or duty delegated to him by the owner. The
court observed that the appellant’s claims were not rebutted as the
respondent did not file submissions.
The appellant was awarded special, general damages, interest and costs of
the suit.


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