Vicarious liability and reforming the law of apologies in civil proceedings?

Section 2 of the Compensation Act 2006 (Apologies, offers of treatment or other redress) was enacted to make it easier for organisations to apologise for their actions without admitting civil liability: it reads, “An apology, an offer of treatment or other redress, shall not of itself amount to an admission of negligence or breach of statutory duty”.

On 8 April, the Ministry of Justice launched a consultation, Reforming the Law of Apologies in Civil Proceedings in England and Wales to consider whether section 2  remains adequate or whether legislative provisions to clarify or amend the current law would be useful. The Ministerial Foreword includes the following:

“The current law is set out in section 2 of the Compensation Act 2006 (the Compensation Act) and aims to encourage those defending claims not to be deterred from offering apologies by a perception that doing so would constitute an admission of liability. While there is little empirical evidence to suggest how effective the current legislation is, the general view is that it has had very little impact as parties are understandably very averse to offering apologies for fear of liability being admitted. Continue reading