Legal Word of the Day: “Respondeat Superior”

Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada

“Respondeat Superior” — Literally “Let the master answer,” this common-law doctrine makes an employer liable for the actions of an employee when the actions take place within the scope of employment.

It is a form of vicarious liability or imputed negligence.

Relevant cases:

Milburn v. Arthur, 1901 CanLII 12 (SCC), 31 SCR 481
” …where false representations have been made by an agent in executing his mandate, though the principal has not directly authorized such representations, yet the rule of respondeat superior applies as in other cases, and it is not essential that the principal should have ratified or derived benefit from the act of his agent.

Canadian Dredge & Dock Co. v. The Queen, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 662.
In regard to criminal liability of corporations: ” …if the act complained of can be treated as that of the company, the corporation is criminally responsible for all such acts as it is capable of committing and for which the prescribed punishment is one which it can be made to endure.”

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