October 19, 2021

Law of Torts: Vicarious Liability

law of torts

Introduction

Normally no person is held responsible for the wrongs done by someone else. However, there are few instances wherein a person can be held liable for the conduct of another person. This liability is known as Vicarious Liability.

The following relationships are the best examples of Vicarious Liability:

  • Liability of the Principal for the act of his Agent
  • Liability of the Partners
  • Liability of the Master for the act of his Servant

Liability of the Principal for the act of his Agent When a principal authorizes his agent to perform any act, he becomes liable for the act of such agent provided the agent has conducted it in the course of performance of duties.

Liability of the Partners For the tort committed by a partner of a firm, in the normal course of business of that partnership, other partners are responsible to the same extent as that of the partner who is in fault. The liability thus arising will be joint and several.

Liability of the Master for the act of his Servant The liability of the master for the act of his servant is based on the principle of ‘respondeat superior’, which means ‘let the principal be liable’. This principle originates from the maxim ‘, Qui Facit per Alium Facit per se’ which means ‘he who does an act through another is deemed in law to do it himself’.

In tort, the wrongful act of the servant is thus deemed to be the act of the master. However, such wrongful act should be within the course of his master’s business and any act, which is not in the course of such business, will not make the master liable.

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