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Chapter

Cover Lunney & Oliphant's Tort Law

6. Defences to Negligence  

Donal Nolan and Ken Oliphant

This chapter examines the following defences to a claim in negligence: volenti non fit injuria; contributory negligence; exclusion of liability; and illegality. The defence of volenti non fit injuria reflects the common sense notion that ‘[o]ne who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers from it, complain of it as a wrong’. Contributory negligence is a partial defence that operates not to defeat the claimant’s claim entirely but rather to reduce the amount of damages the defendant must pay. A defendant may seek to exclude all potential liability to another person in advance of exposing himself to the risk of a possible claim. The defence of illegality denies recovery to certain claimants on the grounds that their claim is tainted by their own illegal conduct.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law: Text and Materials

6. Defences to Negligence  

This chapter examines the following defences to a claim in negligence: volenti non fit injuria; contributory negligence; exclusion of liability; and illegality. The defence of volenti non fit injuria reflects the common sense notion that ‘[o]ne who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers from it, complain of it as a wrong’. Contributory negligence is a partial defence that operates not to defeat the claimant's claim entirely but rather to reduce the amount of damages the defendant must pay. A defendant may seek to exclude all potential liability to another person in advance of exposing himself to the risk of a possible claim. The defence of illegality denies recovery to certain claimants on the grounds that their claim is tainted by their own illegal conduct.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Tort Law

11. General Defences  

Dr Karen Dyer and Dr Anil Balan

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses general defences, covering key debates, sample questions, diagram answer plan, tips for getting extra marks, and online resources. To answer questions on this topic, students need to understand the following: the concept of negligence; the Occupier’s Liability Acts; the defence of volenti non fit injuria; the defence of contributory negligence and the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945; and the defence of illegality—ex turpi causa non oritur action.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law Directions

6. Defences to negligence  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. The claimant has the burden of establishing liability for the tort while the defendant has the burden of establishing the defence. If the claimant establishes a successful cause of action in tort, the defendant must plead one (or more) of the defences available to him. If the defendant establishes a successful defence, either his liability for the damage may be reduced or he may be totally absolved from liability. This chapter examines general defences applicable to all torts but which have particular relevance to claims in negligence, focusing on contributory negligence, volenti non fit injuria, and ex turpi causa non oritur actio.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law

7. Defences to Negligence  

All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter explores three defences to negligence which are also defences to other torts: volenti non fit injuria or willing assumption of risk, the illegality defence (also known as ex turpi causa), and contributory negligence. In relation to contributory negligence, the chapter considers responsibility, which involves questions both of causal influence and of fault, before turning to a discussion of apportionment of responsibility between the parties, and proportionality. In relation to illegality, recent decisions of the Supreme Court are examined. Relevant provisions of the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 are extracted, together with further extracts from significant cases.