Iqbal v London Transport Executive [1973] EWCA Civ 3

Employer’s vicarious liability for an employee’s negligent act while performing an unauthorised act.


A bus conductor, who had been previously prohibited by his employer from driving, disobeyed his employer’s instructions and drove a bus for a short-distance at a garage. In doing so, he hit and injured a fellow employee. The injured person sued the employer for injury caused by a negligent actions of the bus conductor.


The issue arose as to whether the bus conductor can be held to have been acting within the course and scope of his employment and whether, accordingly, the employer can be held liable for the injury caused to the man due to his negligent acts.


The Court held that an employer’s express instructions can effectively aid in defining the sphere of the employee’s course and scope of employment.  Thus, as the conductor has been expressly prohibited from driving buses, his action to negligently drive the bus cannot be considered to have been within the course and scope of his employment. Accordingly, the employer was not vicariously liable for the conductor’s negligent actions and the consequent injury sustained by another employee.

Word Count: 199