Doctrine of Identification Law and Legal Definition

The doctrine of identification was a principle used in old English law which stated that a person who gets injured while traveling due to another’s negligence cannot claim damages if the driver of the conveyance is contributorily negligent. Here the passenger is “identified” with the contributorily negligent driver. This doctrine was later repudiated as unsound in The Bernina [1887], 13 App. Cas. 1 (1888).

The doctrine of identification is also the traditional method by which companies are held liable in most countries under the principles of the common law. According to this theory, the solution for the problem of attributing fault to a corporation for offences that require intention was to merge the individual within the corporation with the corporation itself.