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Conway v George Wimpey & Co Ltd [1951] 2 KB 266

Employment – Negligence – Trespass

Facts

Conway (C) was on his way to work on an aerodrome when he hailed a lorry belonging to the George Wimpey & Co Ltd (W) and driven by one of their employees (D). The lorry was crossing the aerodrome taking a number of the defendants' servants to their work. D had been expressly told by W’s transport manager that he could only transport W’s men, and a notice to this effect had been affixed in his cab. Nevertheless, D gave C a lift for a short distance. When C dismounted the lorry, he caught his right leg under a wheel of the lorry and had to have it amputated after it was badly crushed. C raised an action against W for damages.

Issue

The issue in question was whether W as D’s employers could be held liable for the injury caused to C as a result of the lorry ride D provided for C against W’s instructions.

Held

Both D, as the lorry driver, and C were equally responsible for the accident. C was effectively a trespasser when he mounted the lorry, and it was immaterial whether he knew he was one or not. D performed a wrongful act in allowing C, who was not an employee of W, to ride the lorry, and as this performance was not one which he was employed to perform at all, the act was outside the scope of his employment. W could therefore not be held liable for C’s injury as a result of C’s trespass. Trespass will arise where a person crosses the property of another on reliance of the permission of a person who has no authority to give that permission.


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