Multiple tortfeasors—liability issues and contribution claims
Produced in partnership with Kate Temple-Mabe of 7BR
Multiple tortfeasors—liability issues and contribution claims

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Kate Temple-Mabe of 7BR provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Multiple tortfeasors—liability issues and contribution claims
  • Multiple tortfeasors—the different categories of tortfeasor
  • Joint tortfeasors—same damage, same act
  • Several tortfeasors causing the same damage
  • Several tortfeasors causing different damage
  • Pleading and release—distinguishing between joint and several liability
  • Pleading
  • Release
  • Claiming a contribution under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978
  • Extra-territorial effect of CL(C)A 1978
  • More...

This Practice Note considers tortious liability issues where more than one party is responsible for the damage suffered by the claimant.

It considers issues of pleading and release in respect of multiple tortfeasors (see also Practice Note: Joint, several, and joint and several liability—Tort) and contribution claims under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 (CL(C)A 1978). For guidance on the procedure for bringing a contribution claim under CL(C)A 1978, see Practice Note: Making an additional claim under CPR 20—contribution and indemnity claims.

For guidance generally on claims in tort, negligence and nuisance, see: Tort, negligence and nuisance claims—overview.

Multiple tortfeasors—the different categories of tortfeasor

Where there is more than one tortfeasor (party responsible) they can fall into one of the following categories:

  1. joint tortfeasors: the parties are responsible for the same damage through the same tortious act

  2. several tortfeasors: the parties are responsible for causing the same damage

  3. several tortfeasors: the parties are responsible for causing different damage

Joint tortfeasors—same damage, same act

Joint tortfeasors are responsible for causing the same damage through the same act. Where two or more joint tortfeasors are found liable, they are each liable for the entire damage resulting from the tort (London Association v Greenlands).

This can arise where, eg:

  1. the defendants actually carried out the act together (ie acting as principal tortfeasors together), or

  2. the act is carried out by one of them and

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