WILMOTT DIXON CONSTRUCTION LTD v ROBERT WEST CONSULTING LTD
 EWHC 3291 (TCC), Technology and Construction Court, Coulson J, 21 December 2016
Liability for the acts of independent contractors - Non-delegable duties - Contributory negligence
The claimant contractor brought a claim against the defendant engineers in which it alleged that design work in relation to an existing gable wall was defective and that the underpinning caused damage to the party wall. The defendant sought to rely on the defence of contributory negligence, alleging that the claimant was responsible for the negligence of its independent contractor. Initially this defence was put on the basis that the claimant had actual knowledge of the fact that the independent contractor was carrying out the work in a foreseeably dangerous way. The present proceedings concerned the defendant's attempt to broaden the scope of its defence by alleging that the claimant was vicariously liable for the work of the independent contractor and, in this respect, the defendant sought to rely upon a line of cases in which a sub-contractor is entrusted with work which involves the withdrawal of support from neighbouring property.
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