Civil Liability Act, 1961

Procedure for claiming contribution.

27.—(1) A concurrent wrongdoer who is sued for damages or for contribution and who wishes to make a claim for contribution under this Part—

(a) shall not, if the person from whom he proposes to claim contribution is already a party to the action, be entitled to claim contribution except by a claim made in the said action, whether before or after judgment in the action; and

(b) shall, if the said person is not already a party to the action, serve a third-party notice upon such person as soon as is reasonably possible and, having served such notice, he shall not be entitled to claim contribution except under the third-party procedure. If such third-party notice is not served as aforesaid, the court may in its discretion refuse to make an order for contribution against the person from whom contribution is claimed.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any contribution claim where the parties to the claim are precluded by agreement or otherwise from disputing any earlier determination by a court of the amount of the injured person's damages and the proportion in which contribution should be made.

(3) Where it is sought to serve a third-party notice making a claim for contribution, or making a claim for damages in respect of a wrong committed to the third-party plaintiff, such claim for damages having arisen in whole or in part out of the same facts as the facts giving rise to the principal plaintiff's claim, leave to serve a third-party notice shall not be refused merely because the issue between the third-party plaintiff and the third party will involve a difficult question of law.

(4) Where a concurrent wrongdoer makes a payment to the injured person without action in settlement of the injured person's claim against himself and subsequently claims contribution in accordance with section 22, the contributor shall have the right to have the injured person joined as co-defendant for the purpose of binding him by the determination of the proportions of contribution, unless the injured person is co-plaintiff in the action or the injured person has effectively agreed to be bound by such determination or the injured person has no claim against the contributor or the injured person has already sued the contributor to judgment.