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Vicarious Liability by Mayurakshi Sarkar at Lexcliq

 Vicarious Liability

-Mayurakshi Sarkar

In most cases, a person is only liable for his own conduct; but, a person can be held liable for the wrongs of others in certain circumstances. This is known as "vicarious responsibility," which means that someone else is responsible for their actions. According to SALMOND, "In general, a person is liable exclusively for his actions, but there are extraordinary instances in which the law imposes on him vicarious liability for the acts of another, however blameless himself." Master accountability for the misdeeds of his servants is the most typical occurrence. In certain instances, both joint and multiple liability apply. It is possible for a plaintiff to sue both the actual wrong-doer and his or her employer.

Based on these two maxims, a vicarious liability law can be summarised as follows:

(a) Qui facit per alium facit per se : In legal parlance, the maxim states that "he who acts through another is seen as acting on his own." This notion was also the source of the master's accountability for the actions of his servants. The reason for this is that any individual who assigns someone to perform a certain type of task in his absence has to trust him to do so in accordance with the circumstances at hand. If an employee commits an act of dishonesty, the employer is responsible for it, even if it was done out of the employee's own free will, as long as it was done in the course of the employee's work and was not an act of personal whim.

(b) Respondeat superior: Maxim "let the master answer" is translated as "the superior must bear the responsibility or let the principal bear the responsibility," and it signifies that either the superior must bear the responsibility or he or she must bear it. In such instances, both the one who follows and the one who orders are held responsible. Legal presumption that all acts done by the servant in and around his master's business are done by his master's express or implied authority and are in actuality the act of the master is the basis for this rule. The master is put in the same position as though he had performed the act personally. A servant's actions are the responsibility of the master, even if there is no evidence of an express command or privity. A principal and his or her agent are both accountable as joint wrongdoers if the latter commits a crime approved by the former.

In these decisions, the Supreme Court ruled:

In Mohammad v. WM Morrison Supermarket, WM Morrison Supermarkets was involved in a case involving a gas station customer who was subjected to verbal and physical abuse at the hands of a Morrison grocery staff. He was identified as Mr. Khan. Mr Mohammad was taken by Mr Khan to the back of the petrol station, where he was beaten and kicked to the ground by Mr Khan. When his supervisor tries to stop Mr Khan, he ignores his instructions. At first, no one held him accountable. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that Morrison should be held accountable for Mr. Khan's activities since they were so closely tied to his employment.


For example, in the case of Cox v. Ministry of Justice, a prisoner dropped a sack of rice on the catering manager, inflicting injuries to his back. People wanted to know if his activities were sanctioned by the Ministry of Justice. The country's court ruled that MOJ is not vicariously liable because they do not have an employment relationship. The top court ruled that it didn't matter whether the prison wasn't engaged in any commercial operations, as long as he was receiving some type of compensation from the Ministry of Justice. Despite the fact that there is no financial reward. As a result, the Supreme Court held the Ministry of Justice accountable for the prisoner's actions.


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