Simply, Liability is a status which creates a relation between the wrong and its remedy. It is very close to the concept of Duty and Rights. Actually Liability is such legal statuses which only create from breach of legal duty or from violation of legal rights.
According to Prof. Salmond, ‘Liability or responsibility is the bond of necessity that exists between the wrongdoer and the remedy of the wrong.’
According to Prof. Markby, ‘The word Liability is used to describe the condition of a person who has a duty to perform.’
Elements of Liability:
- Legal Duty
- Breach of legal duty by any act or omission
- Mens rea –
i. Intention ii. Motive iii. Malice
- Violation of Legal Rightist
1. Legal Duty:
The presence of Legal Duty is one of the fundamentals of Liability. There is a very keen relation of Liability with the legal duty. Only breach of such legal duty may create Liability upon any person. No one should be liable in absence of legal duty.
2. Breach of legal duty by act or omission:
A legal duty may not create Liability until its breach. A legal duty may be breach by any act or omission of the wrongdoer. In absence of any such act or omission no legal duty may be breach as well as it create no Liability.
3. Mens rea:
Mens rea is one of the fundamentals to determine Liability. Mens rea means the mental condition of the wrongdoer. The concept of mens rea based on a Latin maxim ‘actus non facit reum nisi ments sit rea’ which means ‘no one should be liable without a wrongful or guilty mind’. The wrongful act or omission of the wrongdoer is caused by mens rea only in presence of any of the following three elements –
i. Intention: If the wrongdoer committed the wrongful act with such a will which is supported by any previsions preparation, the act is caused by intention.
ii. Motive: If the wrongdoer committed the wrongful act with such a will which is not supported by any previsions preparation, the act is caused by Motive.
iii. Malice: Malice is such a rude or impolite mental relationship between the persons which create any wrongful act or omission.
To impose liability to someone it is essential to determine the act or omission may be caused by negligence or not. If it is caused by negligence he will be liable. And if it is not caused by negligence he will not be liable because it treated only as accident.
5. Violation of Legal Rights:
To impose liability to someone it is essential to determine the act or omission may violate the legal rights of another or not. But this element is not absolute essential to impose liability to someone. Sometimes liability may be imposing in absence on this element.
To impose liability to someone it is essential to determine the act or omission may cause any damage to another or not. But this element is not absolute essential to impose liability to someone. Sometimes liability may be imposing in absence on this element.
Kinds of Liability:
1. Civil Liability: Civil liability is the liability of civil nature. It is the right of the plaintiff against the defendant in civil proceedings.
2. Criminal Liability: Criminal liability is the liability of criminal nature. It is the right of the complaint against the accused in Criminal proceedings.
3. Remedial Liability: Remedial liability is the liability for which relief is given by compensation. Generally it is civil in nature.
4. Penal Liability: Penal liability is the liability for which relief is given by penal. Generally it is criminal in nature.
5. Vicarious Liability: Vicarious liability is the liability for the wrong committed by another person. Here wrong done by one person but liability goes to another person
6. Strict Liability: Strict liability is the absolute liability for the person committed the wrong. Here liability imposes upon a person without justifying the mens rea or negligence.