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Tort Law

Tort Law (8th edn)

Kirsty Horsey and Erika Rackley
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date: 13 June 2024

p. 30510. Defences to negligencelocked

p. 30510. Defences to negligencelocked

  • Kirsty Horsey
  •  and Erika Rackley


This chapter discusses three key defences in the tort of negligence: voluntary assumption of risk (consent or volenti non fit injuria), contributory negligence and illegality. The defence of voluntary assumption of risk is based on the common-sense notion that ‘one who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers it, complain of it as a wrong’. The defence of illegality denies recovery to certain claimants injured while committing unlawful activities. Contributory negligence is a defence that operates not to defeat the claimant’s claim entirely but rather to reduce the amount of damages the defendant must pay.

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