HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc811-2W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Government will adopt the recommendations of the Home Affairs Committee on the liability of employers for sexual assaults committed by their employees. [128398]

Mr. Lammy

The Home Affairs Committee recommended that legislation should be introduced to overturn the House of Lords decision in Lister v Hesley Hall Ltd. in relation to the vicarious liability of an employer for sexual assaults by an employee. The Government do not propose to change the law in this area. The law on vicarious liability is wholly common law based, and has been developed by the courts over many years. It is not desirable or practicable to replace it by statute in one particular set of circumstances in which vicarious liability may be held to apply. It is preferable that the courts should continue to have the flexibility to consider all the circumstances of an individual case.