What is Liability - 

     Liability is the result of a violation of the law.  Law lays down is down the right and duties on the individual. The law awards legal rights to one individual and imposes the duty upon another person. A person should not infringe is the legal right of others. If anybody violates the legal right of another, he is said to have committed a wrong. If there is a wrong there is a liability.

    Definition of Liability -

       It is difficult to define the term 'liability' Some Eminent Jurists made attempt to define the term 'liability'.

Salmond - 

          According to Sir John Salmond, "liability or responsibility is the bond of necessity that exists between the wrongdoer and the remedy of the wrong."

Markby - 

     According to Markby, the word 'liability' is used to describe the condition of a person who has a duty to perform whether that duty is primary one or secondary or sanctioning one.

Austin - 

     Austin prefers to use the term 'imputability' to 'liability'. According to him, Those certain forbearances, Commissions or acts, together with such of their consequences, as it was the purpose of the duties to avert, are imputable to the persons who have forborne omitted or acted.

Different Kinds / Types of Liability -

Different Kinds of Liability are as follows -

1) Civil liability  -

         Civil liability is the enforcement of the right of the plaintiff against the dependent in civil proceedings. Civil liability gives rise to Civil Procedure whose purpose is to the enforcement of certain rights claimed by the plaintiff against the defendant. Examples of civil proceedings are an action for recovery of the Debt, Restoration of property, the specific performance of a contract,  recovery of damages, the issuing of an injunction against the threatened injury etc.

2) Criminal Liability - 

    Criminal liability is the liability to be punished in a criminal proceeding.  in criminal liability,  punishment is awarded to a wrongdoer. If the person is guilty of committing the offense with criminal intension then he is liable for punishment. Criminal liability is based on the Maxim "actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea"  it means the offender is guilty only when it is done with the guilty mind.

3) Penal liability -

   The theory of penal liability is concerned with the punishment of wrong.  There are different kinds of punishmentDeterrent,  preventive,  retributive, reformative etc.A penal liability can arise either from a criminal or a civil wrong. There are three aspects of penal liability those are the conditions, incidence, and measure of a liability. As regards the conditions of penal liability, it is expressed in the maxim "actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea"  This means that the Act does not constitute guilt unless it is done with guilty intention. Two things are required to be considered in this connection and those are the act and the mens rea  requires the consideration of imitation and negligence. The act is called the material condition of penal liability and the mens rea is called the formal condition of penal liability.

See... Theories of Negligence 

4) Remedial Liability - 

           Remedial liability is based on the Maxim "Ubi jus ibi remedium"  it means when there is right there must be some remedy.  The force of law can be used to compel a person to do what he ought to do under the law of the country.  if an injury is caused by the violation of a right, the same can be remedied by compelling the person bound to comply with it.The first exception is an imperfect obligation or duty,  Second exception unenforceable duties and the third exception is the impossibility of performance by law.

5) Vicarious liability - 

         Vicarious liability means a liability which is incurred for or instead of another.
Generally, a person becomes liable for a tort committed by him. But there are certain circumstances in which one person becomes liable for the tort committed by another. Such liability is called vicarious liability. There are three exceptions to the general rule that man must be forced to do by the force of law what he is bound to do by a rule of law.


Master and servant

Firm and partners

Employer and independent  contractor

6) Absolute or strict liability

           Both in Civil and criminal law, mens rea or guilty mind is considered necessary to hold a person responsible/liable. However, there are some exceptions to the general rule. In those cases, a person is held responsible irrespective of the existence of either wrongful intent or negligence. Such cases are known as the wrongs of absolute liability/ strict liability. 

See also...

Right of Private Defence (Section 96 to 106 IPC) : Indian Penal Code 1860

 Theories of  Negligence:  Meaning, Definition and Theories of Negligence


See Also..