Viasystems (Tyneside) Ltd. v Thermal Transfer (Northern) Ltd & Ors [2005] EWCA Civ 1151 this was a case heard by the Court of Appeal concerning vicarious liability, and the possibility of holding more than one employer liable for vicarious liability.


The claimant contracted with the first defendant (D1) to install air condition. D1 sub-contracted with second defendant (D2) to carry out ducting work, D2 then hired D3 to do the fitting. Due to negligence on the part of D3 damage was done to the property. The court was called upon to determine whether it is D1 or D2 that is liable for the negligence of D3.


In reaching this decision May LJ held that the court should concentrate on whose responsibility it was to  prevent the breach and not whether there was a transfer of employment, which would depend on who has the power to give orders and tell D3 how he carries out his work. On this basis the court found D2 and D3 jointly and vicariously liable for the negligence.

Applying the Civil Liabilities (Contribution) Act 1978 the court held that the respective liability of D2 and D3 are equal, therefore they are ordered to pay 50% each.