C Evans and Sons Ltd v Spritebrand Ltd and another: CA 1985

The court considered when a company director might be personally liable for acts of the company: ‘in order to make a director, other officer or employee of a company personally liable for the company’s tort, it is necessary to show either that he was himself the person who committed, or participated in, the act constituting the tort, or that he directed or procured the tortious act to be done by others; and that inquiries into the matter will or may involve an ‘elusive question’ turning on the particular facts of the case, and whose resolution may in turn involve the making of a policy decision as to the side of the line on which the case ought to fall.’ and ‘is it the law of England that a director of a company who has authorised, directed and procured the commission by the company of a tort of the nature specified in section 1(2) of the Copyright Act 1956 can in no circumstances be personally liable to the injured party unless he directed or procured the acts of infringement in the knowledge that they were tortious, or recklessly, not caring whether they were tortious or not?’ (Lord Justice Slade)

and ‘If the directors themselves directed or procured the commission of the act they would be liable in whatever sense they did so, whether expressly or impliedly.’ but ‘Nevertheless, judicial dicta of high authority are to be found in English decisions which suggest that a director is liable for those tortious acts of his company which he has ordered or procured to be done.’ (Lord Justice Atkin)
Lord Justice Slade, Lord Justice Atkin
[1985] 1 WLR 316
Copyright Act 1956 1(2)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedPLG Research Ltd and Another v Ardon International Ltd and Others ChD 25-Nov-1994
A patent infingement claim was met by the assertion that the material covered had been disclosed before the patent had been obtained. The court was asked as to the test of whether the information in a claim had been disclosed. Aldous J said: ‘Mr. . .
CitedMCA Records Inc and Another v Charly Records Ltd and others (No 5) CA 5-Oct-2001
The court discussed the personal liability of a director for torts committed by his company: ‘i) a director will not be treated as liable with the company as a joint tortfeasor if he does no more than carry out his constitutional role in the . .
CitedGlobal Projects Management Ltd v Citigroup Inc and Others ChD 17-Oct-2005
GPM had acquired an internet domain name ‘citigroup.co.uk’. Citigroup alleged passing off and trade mark infringement. The claimant complained of an unjustified threat. The defendant counterclaimed, and sought summary judgment.
Held: The . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 28 January 2021; Ref: scu.221583