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EXAMINING THE LEGAL ‘RELATIONSHIP’ BETWEEN THE TAXI OWNER AND THE TAXI DRIVER IN FIJI: A CASE FOR REFORM

Sharma, Navneel (2023) EXAMINING THE LEGAL ‘RELATIONSHIP’ BETWEEN THE TAXI OWNER AND THE TAXI DRIVER IN FIJI: A CASE FOR REFORM. UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Between the period 2015-2020, Fiji Taxi Drivers have been responsible for 3,297 accidents on Fiji’s Roads. This represented close to fifty percent (50%) of all related Public Service Vehicle accidents during that period ahead of buses, minibuses and hire cars. While the Fijian Government is promoting public transportation coupled with an overt protectionist stance towards taxi operations, the industry has unfortunately been blemished with relatively high levels of accidents. Furthermore, accidents resulting in property damage rate higher than those causing injuries and fatalities. Taxi Drivers ability to effectively pay for property damage caused by them is capricious based on their current economic realities. The concept of attributed liability hinges on loss distribution, encouraging higher levels of duty of care and the deepest pocket theory. The current state of common law in Fiji unfortunately does not effectively allow for the proper application of such doctrinal concepts. Common law jurisprudence currently appears to classify the relationship between a taxi owner and taxi driver to be that of an ‘independent contractor’. This is opposed to the alternate being that of an ‘employer-employee’. This is simply not a matter of terminology or style but has a serious as well as a practical implication for those who have suffered property damage attributable to a taxi driver. Given that taxi owners and taxi drivers are not necessarily the same person and with the absence of industry specific civil liability legislation, this paper proposes to bring about a fairer balance between the national advancement of the taxi sector against the danger that they pose towards property security and ultimately effective indemnity measures. Three methods will be explored. The paper will do so by firstly exploring the prospect of an enhanced common law application of the ‘relationship test’ in respect of vicarious liability. Secondly, it will assess the viability of classifying taxi services as a ‘nondelegable duty’ as it has traditionally been viewed as an alternative to vicarious imposition. The final and third proposal will be through a more interventionist approach via legislative reform given the laxities in the regulatory environment. Comparative synergy will be made with the legislative reform experiences in California and New South Wales.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS)
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 23 May 2023 00:45
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 00:45
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/14014
UNSPECIFIED

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