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Update: personal injury

Vijay Ganapathy considers the duty of care owed by a parent company to the employees of its subsidiaries, the dangers of expert shopping and withdrawal of an admission of liability

23 May 2011

Getting around the corporate veil

In Chandler v Cape Plc [2011] EWHC 951 (QB), a parent company, Cape plc (D), was held to owe a duty of care to employees of one of its subsidiaries. In the first decision of its kind in the UK, Justice Wyn Williams confirmed that it is not necessary to pierce the corporate veil, and, where the circumstances exist, a duty of care can be found to exist directly against a parent company.

Mr Chandler (C) was employed by one of D’s subsidiary in the late 50s and early 60s. This subsidiary was called Uxbridge Flint Brick Company Limited (U) which had changed its name to Cape Building Products Limited during the time C was employed. While U operated as a separate legal entity, there was evidence to show D’s direct involvement in its affairs and, in particular, on matters of health and safety.

C worked on a site that had two factories; one making bricks and the other manufacturing asbestos insulation bo...

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