The modern law of torts has evolved through four main stages. In early stage when society was primitive private vengeance and self control were the only remedies available to the wronged person against the wrongdoer. He could get his wrong redressed with the help of his friends or relatives. The second stage of development of civil law was characterized by the state coming into existence when its functions were only persuasive in nature. It did not have enforcing power by which it could penalize the wrongdoer. In the third stage, wrong could be redressed by payment of compensation by the wrongdoer to the victim who was affected by the wrongful act. The modern law which represents the fourth stage recognizes the state as the sole authority to implement and enforce civil as well the criminal law for the administration of justice. Origin of Law of Torts in England:
In England during the reign of Henry II, English Law Courts were established which could punish all forms of violence as crime against the king’s peace instead of allowing them to compounded as private wrongs. Initially, certain crimes such as theft, trespass etc. were treated both as civil wrong and a crime leading to award of damages and punishment. This legal position continued until the end of 17th century when criminal wrong became separated from the civil action. The Forms of Action:
Prior to the passing of the Judicature Act, 1872 the common law procedure for civil wrongs was in the form of actions for torts. The forms of action were popularly called in two forms, namely (i) action of trespass and (ii) action on the case. For ascertaining whether in a given case plaintiff has a cause of action, a very simple procedure was adopted which has been described as the system of writs. The writ System:
During the early years of 14th century a simple procedure for administration of justice was adopted by the British King. Though there was no categorization of wrongs like crime, tort, breach of contract etc., the administration of criminal justice was solely vested with the King’s Court and action for trespass and other wrongs of civil nature were to be adjudicated by the Common Law Courts which were otherwise termed as the Court of Common Pleas. However, consequent to the passing of the judicature Act, 1873, the writ system was completely abolished and the plaintiff could file his plaint directly in the court without the requirement of a writ.