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Joint Liability under Torts by Mayurakshi Sarkar at LexCliq

 Joint Liability under Torts


When a tort is committed by numerous persons, all the persons implicated in it become joint

tortfeasor. In addition to this, all persons will be responsible for the same tort and will be seen

to be joint wrongdoers in the eyes of law. Now, at this point, it becomes vital for one to

understand that in order to show the wrong done by joint tortfeasors, there must be some

relationship between the act of one accused tortfeasor to that of the other.

Sargent L.J remarks regarding this can be stated as follows - “There must be a concurrence in

the act or acts causing injury, and not merely a coincidence of separate acts, which, by their

united effect, generate damage.” For Example– In Palghat Coimbatore Transport Co. V.

Narayana, When two buses collided, one passenger died as a result. The family of the dead

filed a lawsuit under the Fatal Accidents Act, and the court found that the owners of both bus

companies were responsible for the accident.

Circumstances that give rise to joint liability

Agency- The concept of agency provides that, whenever one person employes, authorises or

procures another person to commit a tort, the law takes into account the wrong of both of

them and eventually, both the principal and the agent become jointly and individually

responsible for the actions of the agent.

Vicarious Liability- Responsibility is ascribed to someone who did not commit

the wrong but who has a more superior legal relationship to the one who did.

Vicarious liability is an important notion in legal theory. Employee-employer

relationships are the most common source of vicarious liability. A joint

tortfeasor is one who is both the perpetrator of a crime and that of the

person who is being held vicariously responsible for that crime.

Joint/common action - Two or more people are considered to be joint

tortfeasors if they act together in the tort or if a single course of action is

pursued if one defendant has incited another to commit the tort, in the legal


Under the heading of collaborative or common activity, we will consider two principles.

Accessory Liability- English common law treats culpability for participation in another's tort

as a sort of joint liability; however, whether procurement is a concept distinct from common

design or just a subset of it remains unclear. When taken as a whole, the law appears to

favour procurement as a subset of law rather than treating it as a common design.

Tort of Common Design- When determining accessory culpability, two things must be

proven: first, the defendant acted in a certain way, and second, the defendant's actions caused

the primary actor to commit a tort. In Fish & Fish Ltd. v. Sea Shepherd UK, this was taken

into account. It is also possible that the principal player might have done so as part of a

"Common Design" or a common strategy. In finding common culpability, there is no set rule,

and the facts and circumstances of each case dictate how it should be applied.


The idea of joint tortfeasor has been extensively discussed in this article, including several

topics, case law, and legislation. It demonstrates how tort law can be used in a reasonable and

effective manner to achieve justice in the best interests of society. Changes and

improvements have been made to tort law involving joint tortfeasor liability in order to better

reflect society's evolving social norms.


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