Wrongful act, other than a breach of contract, that injures another and for which the law permits a civil (noncriminal) action to be brought. Relief may be obtained in the form of damages or an injunction. The term derives from Latin tortum, meaning something twisted, wrung, or crooked
The body of the law which allows an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury.
In general, a civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which a court will provide a remedy in the form of a suit for damages.
Salmond and Hueston- A tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is a common action for unliquidated damages, and which is not exclusively the breach of a contract or the breach of a trust or other mere equitable obligation.
Winfield and Jolowicz- Tortuous liability arises from the breach of a duty primarily fixed by law; this duty is towards persons generally and its breach is redressible by an action for unliquidated damages.
Nature of tort
Historically tort had its roots in criminal procedure. Even today there is a punitive element in some aspects of the rules on damages. However tort is a species if civil injury or wrong. The distinction between civil and criminal wrongs depends on the nature of the remedy provided by law. A civil wrong is one which gives rise to civil proceedings. A civil proceeding concerns with the enforcement of some right claimed by the plaintiff as against the defendant whereas criminal proceedings have for their object the punishment of the defendant for some act of which he is accused. Sometimes the same wrong is capable of being made the subject of proceedings of both kinds. For example assault, libel, theft, malicious injury to property etc. in such cases the wrong doer may be punished criminally and also compelled in a civil action to make compensation or restitution. Not every civil wrong is a tort. A civil wrong may be labeled as a tort only where the appropriate remedy for it is an action for unliquidated damages. Thus for example, public nuisance is not a tort merely because the civil remedy of injunction may be available at the suit of the attorney general, but only in those exceptional cases in which a private person may recover damages for loss sustained by him in consequence thereof. However it has to be born in mind that a person is liable in tort irrespective of whether or not an action for damages has been given against him. The party is liable from the moment he commits the tort. Although an action fro damages is an essential mark of tort and its characteristic remedy, there may be and often other remedies also.
Significance of law of tort:-
The law of tort protects to different degrees and in different ways. The physical integrity of the person, property interests,reputation and economic interests. There are arguments about how far it shoud protect other interests,such as a person’s right to privacy.
In many torts material damage has to be caused before their can be an action. In others there is no need for material damage to the claimant,but one of the claimant’s rights has been interfered with. It is for instance an actionable tort deliberately to touch another person even though no damage is caused and to defame someone in writing even though no damage is caused. In such cases the tort is said to be actionable per se or which is actionable by iself.
Law of tort and law of torts:-
Characteristics of law of tort:-
1.Not doing any harm to any person
2.Its remedy is unliquidated damages
3.Its committed only civil wrong except breach of duty.
4.Its remedy is available through the common law as it is rooted in this law. 5.To avail a remedy in excuse of violating tort law the plaintiff has to prove his legal damage.