Cap 377 - CIVIL LIABILITY (CONTRIBUTION) ORDINANCE 1
Chapter: 377 CIVIL LIABILITY (CONTRIBUTION) ORDINANCE Gazette Number Version Date
Long title 30/06/1997
To make new provision for contribution between persons who are jointly or severally, or both jointly and severally,
liable for the same damage or debt and in certain other similar cases where two or more persons have paid or
may be required to pay compensation for the same damage or debt; and to amend the law relating to proceedings
against persons jointly liable for the same debt or jointly or severally, or both jointly and severally, liable for the
same damage or debt.
[1 January 1985]
(Originally 77 of 1984)
Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997
This Ordinance may be cited as the Civil Liability (Contribution) Ordinance.
Section: 2 Interpretation 30/06/1997
(1) In this Ordinance-
"action" (訴訟) means an action brought in Hong Kong;
"dependants" (受養人) has the same meaning as in the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap 22).
(2) References in this Ordinance to an action brought by or on behalf of the person who suffered any damage
include references to an action brought for the benefit of his estate or dependants.
(3) A person is liable in respect of any damage for the purposes of this Ordinance if the person who suffered it
(or anyone representing his estate or dependants) is entitled to recover compensation from him in respect of that
damage (whatever the legal basis of his liability, whether tort, breach of contract, breach of trust or otherwise).
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 6 U.K.]
Section: 3 Entitlement to contribution 30/06/1997
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, any person liable in respect of any damage suffered by
another person may recover contribution from any other person liable in respect of the same damage (whether jointly
with him or otherwise).
(2) A person shall be entitled to recover contribution by virtue of subsection (1) notwithstanding that he has
ceased to be liable in respect of the damage in question since the time when the damage occurred, provided that he
was so liable immediately before he made or was ordered or agreed to make the payment in respect of which the
contribution is sought.
(3) A person shall be liable to make contribution by virtue of subsection (1) notwithstanding that he has ceased
to be liable in respect of the damage in question since the time when the damage occurred, unless he ceased to be
liable by virtue of the expiry of a period of limitation or prescription which extinguished the right (and did not merely
bar a remedy) on which the claim against him in respect of the damage was based.
(4) A person who has made or agreed to make any payment in bona fide settlement or compromise of any
claim made against him in respect of any damage (including a payment into court which has been accepted) shall be
entitled to recover contribution in accordance with this section without regard to whether or not he himself is or ever
was liable in respect of the damage, provided, however, that he would have been liable assuming that the factual basis
of the claim against him could be established.
(5) On assessing any contribution under this section the court shall disregard any part of the payment in respect
of which the contribution is sought which appears to the court to be excessive.
(6) A judgment given in any action brought by or on behalf of the person who suffered the damage in question
against any person from whom contribution is sought under this section shall be conclusive in the proceedings for
contribution as to any issue determined by that judgment in favour of the person from whom the contribution is
Cap 377 - CIVIL LIABILITY (CONTRIBUTION) ORDINANCE 2
(7) In this section-
(a) references to a person's liability in respect of any damage are references to any such liability which has
been or could be established in an action brought by or on behalf of the person who suffered the
damage; but it is immaterial whether any issue arising in any such action was or would be determined
(in accordance with the rules of private international law) by reference to the law of a place outside
(b) "payment" (款項) includes payment in kind or by way of services or other arrangement whatsoever if
such payment in kind or services or arrangement has a monetary value reasonably capable of being
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 4 Assessment of contribution 30/06/1997
(1) Subject to subsection (3), in any proceedings for contribution under section 3 the amount of the contribution
recoverable from any person shall be such as may be found by the court to be just and equitable having regard to the
extent of that person's responsibility for the damage in question.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), the court shall have power in any such proceedings to exempt any person from
liability to make contribution, or to direct that the contribution to be recovered from any person shall amount to a
(3) Where the amount of the damages which have or might have been awarded in respect of the damage in
question in any action brought by or on behalf of the person who suffered it against the person from whom the
contribution is sought was or would have been subject to-
(a) any limit imposed by or under any law or by any agreement made before the damage occurred;
(b) any reduction by virtue of section 21 of the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) Ordinance
(Cap 23); or
(c) any corresponding limit or reduction under the law of a place outside Hong Kong,
the person from whom the contribution is sought shall not by virtue of any contribution awarded under section 3 be
required to pay in respect of the damage a greater amount than the amount of those damages as so limited or reduced.
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 2 U.K.]
Section: 5 Proceedings against persons jointly liable for the same
debt or damage
Judgment obtained against any person liable in respect of any debt or damage shall not be a bar to an action, or
to the continuance of an action, against any other person who is (apart from any such bar) jointly liable with him in
respect of the same debt or damage.
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 3 U.K.]
Section: 6 Successive actions against persons liable (jointly or
otherwise) for the same damage
If more than one action is brought in respect of any damage by or on behalf of the person by whom it was
suffered against persons liable in respect of the damage (whether jointly or otherwise) the plaintiff shall not be entitled
to costs in any of those actions, other than that in which judgment is first given, unless the court is of the opinion that
there was reasonable ground for bringing the action.
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 4 U.K.]
Section: 7 Effect of joint liability of release or accord 30/06/1997
A release of, or accord with, a person liable in respect of any debt or damage, granted or made by a person to
whom the debt is due or by whom the damage is suffered, does not discharge another person who is jointly liable in
respect of the debt or damage unless the release or accord so provides.
Cap 377 - CIVIL LIABILITY (CONTRIBUTION) ORDINANCE 3
Section: 8 Application to the Crown 30/06/1997
Without prejudice to section 6(1) of the Crown Proceedings Ordinance (Cap 300) (indemnity and contribution),
this Ordinance shall bind the Crown.
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 5 U.K.]
Section: 9 Savings 30/06/1997
(1) Nothing in this Ordinance shall affect any case where the debt in question became due or (as the case may
be) the damage in question occurred before the date on which it comes into force.
(2) A person shall not be entitled to recover contribution or liable to make contribution in accordance with
section 3 by reference to any liability based on breach of any obligation assumed by him before the date of
commencement of this Ordinance.
(3) The right to recover contribution in accordance with section 3 supersedes any right, other than an express
contractual right, to recover contribution (as distinct from indemnity) otherwise than under this Ordinance in
corresponding circumstances; but nothing in this Ordinance shall affect-
(a) any express or implied contractual or other right to indemnity; or
(b) any express contractual provision regulating or excluding contribution,
which would be enforceable apart from this Ordinance (or render enforceable any agreement for indemnity or
contribution which would not be enforceable apart from this Ordinance).
[cf. 1978 c. 47 s. 7 U.K.]