Neil Foster, ‘Tort Liability of Churches for Clergy Child Abuse after the Royal Commission: Implications of Developments in the Law of Vicarious Liability and Non-Delegable Duty’

Abstract
While the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has made a number of recommendations concerning a range of Australian institutions, some of the most difficult issues concern the liability of Christian churches. While the churches are committed to being part of a statutory recompense scheme, there seems no doubt that general tort liability will remain for some victims, and in relation to churches there are a number of unresolved problems. Questions surrounding corporate personality and who may be sued need to be answered. In particular, however, there is still some uncertainty in Australian law as to whether sexual abuse committed by clergy can be sheeted home to churches under the principles of vicarious liability or non-delegable duty. This paper explores these issues, including recent statutory responses, and suggests some ways forward for common law courts.

Neil J Foster, Tort Liability of Churches for Clergy Child Abuse after the Royal Commission: Implications of Developments in the Law of Vicarious Liability and Non-Delegable Duty, Melbourne Law School Obligations Group, Torts Conference Dec 2018 (2018).

First posted 2018-12-08 08:18:04

Leave a Reply