What is Tort Law?

    • Tort Law is basically about responsibility.
    • Conduct of harm being caused to somebody
    • Obligations imposed on a party
    • It is a body of various wrongs e.g. personal Injury, Battery, False imprisonment, Trespassing.
    • Since the human rights act some new tort rules have been made.
    • Can’t be enforced on oneIndividual.
    • It promotes the right to freedom of speech.
    • Tort law was divided up.
    • Even if you had a good case before 1873, but couldn’t back it up your case would be dismissed.
    • “Thou shall not harm to thy Neighbour”
    • Moral concept is equal to fault
    • As long as you remain in control, you are liable for example if you are driving and have a heart attack, you are still liable because you are being held to the standard of a competent driver and are still in control of the vehicle.
    • Understanding of fault is about standardisation in tort law.
    • Tort law is more of a moral issue rather.
    • It is also the concept of responsibility.
    • It is the system ofpersonal responsibility.
    • Looks at the harm caused and who should and shouldn’t be compensated.
    • One person harming another and fixing it( regarded as basis of tort law).

My Notes:


      • Negligence is a legal concept in common law legal systems.
      • It is usually used to achieve compensation for injuries but not accidents.
      • Negligence is a type of tort(civil wrong).
      • It is also sometimes used in criminal law.
      • Negligence is not the same as carelessness due to the fact that someone might be being as careful as they can and still fall below the appropriate level of competence expected of them.
      • It is the opposite of diligence and can generally be defined as conduct that is responsible due to the fact that it falls short of what a fair person would do to protect another individual from blatant risks of harm.

Quote from Lord Blackburn, “Those who go personally or bring property where they know that they or it may come into collision with the persons or property of others have by law a duty cast upon them to use reasonable care and skill to avoid such a collision”

      • Through civil litigation, if the injured party manages to prove that another person acted was the cause of their injury or injuries they can recover damages in order to compensate for the harm that has been caused to them.
      • Proving that another party’s negligence caused damages can potentially entitle the injured party to compensation for bodily harm, property, mental well-being, financial statue, or even relationships(E.G A speeding Driver killing a child’s parents).
      • The law of negligence at common law is only one of the aspects around the law of liability.
      • Although, resulting damages must be proven in order to recover compensation in a negligent action, the nature and extent of the damage are not the primary focus of negligence cases.

The Nature of Tort Law; what is tort law.

The distinction between a crime and a civil wrong:

      • A crime is one punishable by jail sentence or community service whilst a civil wrong is one where if found liable one has to pay damages e.g. medical negligence compensation e.t.c
      • Civil is tort for example where someone mistakenly hits another’s car and is injured could sue for damages or for injury.

The distinction between tort and contract:

      • In tort law, there is no contract at all whilst with contract there is and if one breaches it you go to court for breach of contract.
      • Oral contracts can also be legally binding.

The range of interests protected by tort law:

      • Medical negligence
      • Personal injury
      • Traffic accidents
      • Battery
      • Injury from animals
      • Trespass
      • Slander
      • Libel(writing wrong and hurting information against someone)

The impact of the Human rights Act of 1998:

      • Ensured the freedom of the people in the country.


      • (out come of a decision not the purpose) the function of the decision is finding the culprit of personal responsibility if the purpose was compensation everyone would get it. You can’t always make things right with compensation. Things such as loss of earnings, destruction of property can be replaced with money whereas; things such as Death, psychological scars cannot be replaced by money.


      • It tells us about what we think are acceptable decisions and what are unacceptable. There is a high risk of this in medicine due to the fact that a surgeon or doctor might perform an action which is highly risky but life saving and be deterred for this. In New Zeeland tort law was abolished and a survey was taken to see if the rate of car accidents increased and it surprisingly didn’t.


      • This is another function of the tort system for claimants.

Alternative options:

    • In 1972 the Pearson commission was setup. It showed that only 6% of people received injuries due to tort.
    • It also said the tort system is ridiculously expensive to run and inefficient.
    • They made some proposals but only very limited proposals.
    • A social security scheme is a lot easier to run than a tort system.
    • “if tort law is removed some peoples source of income after injury, would be taken away”.
    • There is a very strong emphasis of collective responsibility.
    • In New Zeeland everyone who gains injury can claim through the new system.
    • In England we have some limited forms of low fall compensation.

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