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Vicarious liability

Generally a person is liable for his own wrongful act and one does not incur any liability for the acts done by other. In vicarious liability one’s liability of act done by other.

Principle and its agent. (joint liability)- when a agent commits a tor in the course of performance of his duty as an agent, the liability of the principle arises for such wrongful act. It is based on the general principle of qui facit per alium facit per se. which means that the act of an agent is the act of the principle and done by the agent both are jointly liable. The authority to do the act may be express or implied. The agent perform such act in the course of his normal course of duty.

In State of India v.s Shyam Devi- SC held that employee when he committed the fraud, was not acting in the scope of bank’s employment but in his private capacity as the depositor’s friend, therefore the bank is not liable vicariously.

  1. Partners- in ordinary course of business other partner is vicariously liable.
  2. Master and servant- the doctrine of vicarious liability is based on the maxim respondent superior- let the principle liable. It was held in limpus v. London general omnibus cp- the liability arises even though the servant acted against the express instructions, and for no benefit of the master.

For the liability to the master to arise, the following two essentials

  1. The tort committed by the Servant.
  2. The servant who committed the tort in the course of the employment.

Who is the servant- A person employed by another to do work under the direction and control of his master.- Master is liable only for his servant and not for the tort of independent contractor. Exceptions-

  1. Rylands v.s Fletcher- the employer could not escape from the damage caused to plaintiff.
  2. Servant not under control of the master- Example- Captain of a ship or a Surgeon in the Hospital
  3. Make liable to the master sustain the damage caused.
  4. Negligence of the servant.
  5. Fraud.
  6. Theft
  7. Delegation of authority by servant.
  8. Effect of Express prohibition.
  9. Doctrine of Common Emplacement-

Master is not labile for servant act-

  1. In forbidden act.
  2. Express prohibition ( Position in India)


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