Examine the extent to which an employer is liable for the torts committed by an independent contractor

An independent contractor is a person engaged by another to render a particular service
i.e. there is a contract for services between the parties.

• He is his own master and exercises his discretion in accordance with the terms of the contract with the employer.

• He is generally liable for torts committed by his servants and agents. However, in certain circumstances the employer is liable for such torts, for example.

• If the employer retains control or interferes with the discharge of the obligation.

• If the independent contractors obligation amounts to a tort.

• If the tort in question is one of strict liability e.g. rule in Rylands V. Fletcher.

• If the ordinary discharge of the independent contractors obligation amounts to the commission of a tort.

• If the independent contractor negligently discharges a duty imposed upon the employer by law.

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