PCB v Geelong College  VSC 633 (available on AUSTLII).
In late 1988 when he was in Year 8, the plaintiff first attended the ‘House of Guilds’, which was on the grounds of the senior campus of the Geelong College. The plaintiff was then a student at the junior campus, which was nearby. The plaintiff attended the House of Guilds after school.
The House of Guilds was a building or complex of spaces fitted out to facilitate woodwork, ceramics and other crafts. It was open to students of the school and could be attended out of school hours. It was also open to students of other schools and members of the community upon the payment of a membership fee.
Bert Palframan was an honorary member of the House of Guilds, he was in his early 70s at the time, and passed away in about 1999. It was not in dispute that on many occasions in the period between late 1988 and mid-1990 the plaintiff was sexually abused by Palframan in the ‘woodwork room’ and in Palframan’s car and then at his unit in Geelong.
At , the plaintiff contended that Palframan should be taken to have been, in effect, an employee of the school, however it was not apparent that he was ever trained as a teacher and he did not have any formal status as a teacher paid by the school.
The Court noted at  that “Whilst the plaintiff and some other witnesses gave evidence that they had thought that Palframan was a ‘teacher’; other witnesses gave evidence of knowing that he was not a teacher. I do not accept that the defendant generally held Palframan out as a teacher of the school to those attending the House of Guilds.” And at , ” Nor does it seem that Palframan was ever assigned a professional title, paid by the school, formally assigned or supervised by a superior from the school or that the school ever maintained a personnel or any other form of ‘employment’-style file in respect of him.”
In this context, the Court did not accept that the reasoning and passages in Prince Alfred College relied upon by the plaintiff provided a ‘framework’ to found a finding that the school is vicariously liable for the abuse perpetrated by Palframan upon the plaintiff. (at ). The presence of a relationship of employer and employee is a necessary intermediate step or foundation in the reasoning of the High Court in Prince Alfred College ().
Accordingly the vicarious liability aspect of the plaintiff’s claim was rejected.
The plaintiff did however succeed in his claim (having regard to the evidence) based on direct negligence on the part of the school. ().