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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3844
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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i am a building contractor and one of my subcontractors discovered

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i am a building contractor and one of my subcontractors discovered some historic bison skulls while we were digging a basement. He 'stole' these from site without notifying anyone and we only found out when the natural history museum contacted us as they had been notified when the subcontractor tried to sell them on. What is the legal situation on this matter as we are only under contract for the building works - surely if a criminal activity takes place on the site that should be taken up with the perpetrator (even he was under our management)

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you.

You cannot be held vicariously liable for the criminal activity of one of your subcontractors unless you were either complicit or had turned a blind eye.

You may however be liable under a civil claim for the loss caused by this subcontractor, as they were you responsibility. That said the civil claim would be the actual quantifiable loss or damage for the skulls. If the skulls have been returned then it would be difficult to claim any damage had occurred.

What you should do as a practical step is:
1. Co operate with the police;
2. Get your records in order to show that you had proper and reasonable procedures in place for referencing these subcontractors.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

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