The Citizens Life Assurance Company Limited v Brown: PC 6 May 1904

(New South Wales) A malicious libel was alleged. The life assurance company was vicariously liable in respect of a libel contained in a circular sent out by a person who was employed by the company under a written agreement as its ‘superintendent of agencies’. By the terms of the agreement that person was to devote his whole time to furthering the company’s business and was to be paid a salary weekly as well as a commission on policies procured by him.
Held: He was a servant of the company for whose actions the company was liable. Once companies are recognised by the law as legal persons, they are liable to have the mental states of agents and employees such as dishonesty or malice attributed to them for the purpose of establishing civil liability.
Lord Lindley said: ‘If it is once granted that corporations are for civil purposes to be regarded as persons, ie as principals acting by agents and servants, it is difficult to see why the ordinary doctrines of agency and of master and servant are not to be applied to corporations as well as to ordinary individuals.’
Lord Lindley
[1904] UKPC 20, [1904] AC 423
RejectedAbrath v North Eastern Railway Co HL 15-Mar-1886
The plaintiff had brought an action against the company of malicious prosecution. It was rejected by the jury and again on appeal.
Held: The appeal failed. In an action for damages for the tort of malicious prosecution one of the elements of . .

Cited by:
CitedJetivia Sa and Another v Bilta (UK) Ltd and Others SC 22-Apr-2015
The liquidators of Bilta had brought proceedings against former directors and the appellant alleging that they were party to an unlawful means conspiracy which had damaged the company by engaging in a carousel fraud with carbon credits. On the . .
CitedJetivia Sa and Another v Bilta (UK) Ltd and Others CA 31-Jul-2013
Defendants appealed against refusal of their request for a summary striking out for lack of jurisdiction, of the claims against them arising from their management of the insolvency of the first defendant. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 August 2021; Ref: scu.419585