THE LAW OF TORT

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Within any legal system it is very important that the law protects its citizens against the wrongful acts of others. A wrongful act may be DEFINED as one which harm or damage to another person. In common law systems, protection against these types of wrong often falls within the area of civil law, as opposed to criminal law, and they are referred to as torts. The parties involved in a tort case may be either a natural person or a person, for example a limited company. It is sometimes the case that the defendant in a tort claim is not the party who actually committed the tort. This can occur when there is a certain type of relationship in existence. An example of this is that of an employer and employee. If an employee commits a tort whilst carrying out the duties of his or her employment then the person making the claim, referred to as the has the choice of making a claim against either the employee or the employer. This is because an employer is vicariously liable under the law for the torts of its employees in such circumstances.

There are many types of behaviour which are considered to be wrongful. One example is where a person makes a statement which may result in damage to another person’s . This type of tort is called defamation and falls into two categories. If it is made in any kind of permanent form it is known as . This includes all written forms and also any spoken forms where it can be listened to again. An example of this might be where a person uploads a video on to YouTube in which he or she makes defamatory statements about another. Other more temporary spoken forms of defamation are called .

The majority of tort cases heard in common law jurisdictions relate to the tort of negligence, which is based on the idea that everyone has a duty of care towards others. If a person breaches that duty of care the injured party can make a claim for financial more formally known as damages. This could be for physical damage, in other words personal injury, and/or non-physical damage, known as distress. Under the tort of negligence defendants are liable for both their acts, which are the things they have done, and also their which are the things they have not done. However, for the duty of care to apply it is necessary to show that the harm caused was reasonably which means that it could have been predicted by a reasonable person. This objective test bas resulted in hundreds of cases being brought before the courts, with case law now providing many principles relating to what is considered to be reasonably predictable and what is not. When hearing a claim for negligence, the courts also need to consider whether the person making the claim is partly responsible for the amount of damage that has been caused to him or her. This is known as negligence and can result in a reduction in the amount of the damages that are awarded.