Doctorine Of Strict Liability  

In the Law of Torts, the Doctrine of Strict Liability holds a person responsible for a wrong doing regardless of any prevailing circumstances that prove he is not at fault nor did he have intent to commit such a wrong. Under this doctrine, the injured may file suit against the person and is not required to prove guilt.

Only the facts of the incident are relevant. The injured is only liable to prove that a negligent incident took place as a result of which he has been wronged.

To elaborate with an example: A motorist driving cautiously and well within the speed limit knocks down and kills a pedestrian crossing the road. Under strict liability the motorist is responsible. Other mitigating factors are irrelevant even though the motorist did no wrong nor had intentions to. For instance, the pedestrian was crossing at a place other than a pedestrian crossing; the pedestrian was wearing dark clothes and it was raining heavily; the motorist was temporarily blinded by the headlights of an oncoming truck. Though relevant, the motorist cannot present these facts in his defense.

Similarly, an owner is held responsible if his dog jumps over his fence and bites a passerby. The fact that the dog broke its chain and the fence was of a good height is immaterial. The sole criterion on the passerby is to prove that the dog actually belonged to the defendant and it was that particular dog, and none other, that bit him.

The purpose of strict liability is to discourage rash behavior and inculcate awareness in a person to exercise all precautions possible. Strict liability simplifies litigation and brings speedy redressal to the litigant.

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