Vicarious Liability in contracts for service and contract of service

Vicarious liability refers to a situation where someone is held responsible for the actions or
omissions of another person. Generally a person is liable for his own wrongful acts and one
does not incur any liability for the acts done by others, but in case of vicarious liability a
person is liable for the acts of the others. It is based on the principle of “Qui facit per se per
alium facit per se, which means, “He who does an act through another is deemed in law to do
it himself”. In a workplace context, an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its
employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.
A servant and independent contractor are both employed to do some work of the employer
but there is a difference in the legal relationship which the employer has with them. A servant
is engaged under a contract of services whereas an independent contractor is engaged under a
contract for services.

An employee is someone who undertakes to do work for another person under a contract of
service. In order to establish whether there is a contract of Service in place there are various
different kinds of test which can be undertaken which will be discussed in project in detail.
The test includes, the control test, the integration test, Economic reality test.

Employers are not vicariously liable for harmful acts committed by independent contractors
as independent contractors operate under a contract for services. This means that an
independent contractor will be in business on their own contracting with various parties to
provide services to those parties and therefore will have the responsibility and the means to
satisfy or ensure against harmful acts committed during their work.


Vicarious Liability, Contract for service, Contract of service, Independent contractor

Submitted By:
Palak Joshi (071)
Tanya Bhilware (113)
B.A.LLB (Section B)