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Player Violence, or Violent Players? Vicarious Liability for Sports Participants

James, M and McArdle, D (2004) Player Violence, or Violent Players? Vicarious Liability for Sports Participants. The Tort Law Review, 12. ISSN 1039-3285

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Abstract

This article analyses two recent English cases concerning the law on vicarious liability for acts of violence and considers their significance in respect of on-field acts of violence in contact sports. It provides an overview of how the law of negligence has developed in the specific context of sports injuries (including the application of the defence of volenti) and critiques the application of vicarious liability to sports cases. This is followed by a consideration of the wider law on vicarious liability for violent employees through a review of Lister v Hesley Hall Ltd [2001] UKHL 22 and a deeper consideration of Mattis v Pollock [2003] EWCA Civ 887. The article continues with an analysis of how those decisions have changed the legal landscape in respect of violent sports participants, looking in particular at reported cases from three jurisdictions in which that issue has been raised.

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