The Koursk: CA 1924

The navigators of two ships had committed two separate torts or one tort in which they were both tortfeasors.
Held: Three situations were identified where A might be jointly liable with B for B’s tortious act. Where A was master and B servant; where A was principal and B agent; and where the two were concerned in a joint act done in pursuance of a common purpose: ‘Certain classes of persons seem clearly to be ‘joint tortfeasors’: The agent who commits a tort within the scope of his employment for his principal, and the principal; the servant who commits a tort in the course of his employment, and his master; two persons who agree on common action, in the course of, and to further which, one of them commits a tort. These seem clearly joint tortfeasors; there is one tort committed by one of them on behalf of, or in concert with another.’ and ‘I am of the opinion that the definition in Clerk and Lindsell on Torts, 7th ed., p59, is much nearer the correct view : ‘Persons are said to be joint tortfeasors when their respective shares in the commission of the tort are done in furtherance of a common design’ . . ‘but mere similarity of design on the part of independent actors, causing independent damage, is not enough; there must be concerted action to a common end.’

Scrutton LJ
[1924] P 140
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedGenerale Bank Nederland Nv (Formerly Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland Nv) v Export Credits Guarantee Department HL 19-Feb-1999
The wrong of the servant or agent for which the master or principal is liable is one committed in the case of a servant in the course of his employment, and in the case of an agent in the course of his authority. It is fundamental to the whole . .
CitedBrooke v Bool 1928
Volunteer Was Joint Tortfeasor
A and B set out together to investigate the source of a gas leak which was B’s direct concern alone. A had come with him to help. Because B was too old to carry out a particular task, A carried it out instead. The means of investigation was . .
CitedUnilever Plc v Gillette (UK) Limited CA 1989
Unilever claimed infringement of its patent. The court was asked whether there was a good arguable case against the United States parent company of the existing defendant sufficient to justify the parent company to be joined as a defendant and to . .
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 . .
CitedCBS Songs Ltd v Amstrad Consumer Electronics Plc HL 12-May-1988
The plaintiffs as representatives sought to restrain Amstrad selling equipment with two cassette decks without taking precautions which would reasonably ensure that their copyrights would not be infringed by its users.
Held: Amstrad could only . .
CitedFish and Fish Ltd v Sea Shepherd UK and Another AdCt 25-Jun-2012
The claimant company was engaged in tuna fish culture off shore to Malta. The defendant ship was owned by a charity which campaigned against breaches of animal preservation conventions. Fish were being transporting live blue fin tuna in towed . .
CitedSea Shepherd UK v Fish and Fish Ltd SC 4-Mar-2015
Accessory Liability in Tort
The court considered the concept of accessory liability in tort. Activists had caused damage to vessels of the respondent which was transporting live tuna in cages, and had caused considerable damage. The appellant company owned the ship from which . .
CitedFish and Fish Ltd v Sea Shepherd Uk and Others CA 16-May-2013
The claimant company sought damages after their transport of live tuna was attacked by a protest group. They now appealed against a decision that the company owning the attacking ship was not liable as a joint tortfeasor.
Held: The appeal was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Vicarious Liability, Torts – Other

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.183581