Tortious Liability

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TOPIC: WHAT IS TORT, AND TORTIOUS LIABILITY ?

From a legal standpoint, a tort is a private or civil wrong or injury (other than a breach of contract) for which a court of law may provide a remedy through a lawsuit for damages (compensation). For example, when a person violates his/her duty to others created under general (or statutory) law, a tort has been committed. Tort law relies heavily on the common law, the legal opinions of the Courts, general trends in the community, and legal scholarship to guide its relevance in today’s world.

Simply put, the Encyclopedia Britannica states, “ a tort is an instance of unlawful conduct that either is dangerous to life and limb, causes mental anguish, damages personal reputations, or violates certain rights such as property rights or rights of privacy. The concept encompasses only those civil wrongs independent of contracts.”

The eminent American legal mind, Professor Prosser states, “broadly speaking, a tort is a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages.” Examples of tort include:

a) assault and battery b) false imprisonment c) trespass d) negligence e) interference with contract f) interference with economic advantage.

The law of torts attempts to provide a means of redress for damage or injury suffered. For instance, in the event a bull charges through a fence and wreaks havoc in a neighbouring farmyard, the owner of the bull, who has a strict statutory obligation to ensure that such an escape does not occur, is liable by the law of torts to compensate the neighbouring farmer who has suffered damages. The form of the compensation is usually monetary (damages), assessed according to the loss incurred as a result of the tortuous act or failure to act. The purpose of the law of torts is to delimit, in the event of damage or injury resulting from an act or omission, a right to compensation and the extent

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