• Legis Scriptor

Vicarious liability in partnership

Authored by Sweta Upadhyay

Keywords: vicarious liability, Partnership, Quifacit per aliumfacit per se, Firm.


This topic is about the vicarious liability in partnership Vicarious, liability arises from the relationship between parties rather than from fault. It further deals with the provision under Indian partnership Act, which makes one partner vicariously liable for other. Discussed some important case laws related to vicarious liability in Partnership.


Vicarious liability is one of the civil wrongs which are roofed under the law of torts. The term derives from the Latin word 'vicis,' which suggests 'one that one take the place of.' Vicarious liability arises when there's master-servant, partners of a firm, partner/guardian-children, principal-agent, and State-employees relation. Here, the one that is that the employer or in an authoritative position delegates their work to their respective subordinates, and when the beneficiary is incurring damage, the master is held responsible for causing any damage during employment. The common example of such liability is:

i. Liability of principal for the tort of his agent.

ii. Liability of partners of every other tort.

iii. .The Company and its directors.

iv. Owner and Independent Contractor.

v. Liability of the master for the tort of his servant.

Vicarious liability may be a concept almost as old because the law itself, but it's as important now as ever. Generally speaking, vicarious liability is when one person – a private, a partnership, or an organization – is held liable for the actions of somebody else due to the connection between them. It’s a sort of secondary, indirect liability imposed on one person for the direct acts of another.

The vicarious liability of state may be a liability that arises against the government or the central government when an administrator or employee who is being employed under the state commits a tortious activity. The principles that apply to master-servant relationships are:

Respondent Superior: The doctrine of Respondent Superior is applied between the connection of the employer and therefore the employee, which any torts is committed during the course of employment or service, the employer are going to be directly held responsible for the acts are being done by the worker.

Quifacit per aliumfacit per se: This legal maxim simply means, "He who acts through another does the act himself." This maxim states that, it's assumed that whatever service is being provided by the worker, it's assumed that the employer is himself providing the service to the customer; therefore the liability also arises against the employer.

Who are partners in a firm?

A partnership firm could even be a sort of business during which a gaggle of individuals, also mentioned as partners, close. They establish their own firm and supply services and products through it. However, a partnership firm isn't considered as a separate legal entity. The partners share all profits and losses among one another. All partners are given unlimited liability. To become a partner during a partnership firm one must attain some requirements which are mentioned below. One can enter into a partnership by subsequent law:

i. A person

ii. A firm (recognized by law as a separate legal entity.

iii. .A company

iv. A trustee

v. Chief member of a Hindu undivided family (Karta)

Partner’s relationship:-

The relationship which partners share with one another is that the same as in theory and agent. For the tort committed by any of the partner of the corporate, all partners are becoming to be held responsible for the damages. The liability of every partner is joint and sort of other.

Partner’s relationship under Indian Partnership Act:

The Indian Partnership Act, 1932, talks about the relationship between partners and the foremost important sections are as fallow:

Section 4: Define the Term “Partner”.

Section 6 of The Indian Partnership Act 1932, deals with mode of determining the existence of partnership and

Section 13 of The Indian Partnership Act 1932, defines mutual right and liabilities.

In a Partnership firm each partner acts on behalf of other partner. Hence, a Partner is often held vicariously liable for negligence committed by an other partner.

Case laws:-

In the case of Northampton Regional Livestock Centre Company Ltd. v. Cowling could even is a reminder of the potential liability of partners of a general partnership. During this case, a partner (Partner A) jointly or severally responsible for his partner’s (Partners B) breach of duty pursuant to section 10 of the partnership acts, 1890. The court of appeal, overturning the primary instance decision, was clear that although partner A conduct was reasonable and he had neither acted negligently nor authorized partner B’s breach of duty, the principle of joint and severally applied.

In case of Smt. VunnaVisali v. State of A.P. [1]it had been held that basically, every partner is responsible for an ‘act of the firm’. ‘Act of a firm’ has been defined to mean ‘any act or omission by all the partners or by any partner or agent of the firm which provides rise to a right enforceable by or against the firm’. This is often the civil liability of the firm and its partners.

In the case of Hamlin v. Houston & Co.[2], one among the partners of the partnership firm bribed the plaintiff’s clerk to provide secret information about the plaintiff’s business. It had been held that both partners of the firm might be held responsible for preventing breach of contract, which may be a wrongful act, although the act was committed by one among them.


Vicarious Liability in Partnership is deals with cases where one partner is liable for the acts of other partners. Within the planet of Torts it's considered to be an exception to the general rule that an individual is liable for his own acts only. The principle of vicarious liability is based on the legal principle of Qui facit per alium facit per se which suggests, “He who does an act through another is deemed in law to undertake to thereto himself.” Hence, within the case of vicarious liability in Partnership both, the Partner on whose instructions the act is runand other partners are vicariously liable for the torts committed.





Foot notes:

[1](2001) (1) ALT Cri 511. [2](1903) 1 K.B. 81:51 W.R. 99: 72 L.J.K.B. 72: 87 L.R. 500.