p. 54914. Torts
- Timothy EndicottTimothy EndicottFellow in Law, Balliol College, Professor of Legal Philosophy, University of Oxford
A claim for damages for loss caused by a public authority gives a court the opportunity to do justice for the claimant and also to impose the rule of law on the administration. The challenge is to do both without interfering inappropriately in the administrative pursuit of public goods, and without creating public compensation funds that only a legislature can legitimately create. It is an important constitutional principle that liabilities in the law of tort apply to public authorities, just as to private parties. But there is no general liability to compensate for public action that was unlawful; the impugned conduct must meet the standard requirements of the tort liability of private parties, with the exception of the one public tort: misfeasance in a public office. This chapter discusses trespass to property, statutory liabilities, negligence, misfeasance in public office, and damages under the Human Rights Act 1998.