TPKN v Ministry of Defence

Summary judgment – Strike out. The claimant, who alleged that a member of the British army (TS) had raped and sexually assaulted her while she had been serving in the Royal Navy in Gibraltar, succeeded on her appeal against a master's decision: (i) granting the defendant Ministry of Defence (MOD) summary judgment on the claimant's personal injury claim, on the basis that she had no real prospect of successfully establishing that the MOD was vicariously liable to her for TS's offences; and (ii) striking out part of her amended particulars of claim, on the basis that they did not disclose any reasonable grounds for bringing a claim of misfeasance in public office. The Queen's Bench Division held that, in circumstances where the MOD had accepted that the relationship between it and TS was capable of giving rise to vicarious liability, the master had erred in failing to give appropriate weight to the combination of all the matters the claimant had relied on, which, in the court's judgment, did give rise to a real prospect of establishing vicarious liability. Further, the court ruled that the master had erred in striking out part of the claimant's amended particulars of claim where there had been no argument before him about whether, in committing the alleged offences, TS had committed the tort of misfeasance in public office.

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