Cardinal says Church should be suable

The former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he no longer supports the Catholic Church’s position that it could not be sued: “Whatever position was taken by the lawyers during the litigation, or by lawyers or individuals within the Archdiocese following the litigation, my own view is that the Church in Australia should be able to be sued in cases of this kind.” Cardinal Pell was in charge of the Archdiocese of Sydney when it ran what is now known as “the Ellis defence”. In Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church v Ellis [2007] NSWCA 117, the NSW Court of Appeal held that because priests were not employees, the Church was not vicariously liable for their actions. This effectively means that individual priests can be sued, but the Church can not—which diminishes the ability of victims of child sexual abuse to obtain compensation.