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Chapter

Cover Tort Law

9. Causation and remoteness of damage  

This chapter discusses the final ‘hurdle’ for the claimant to overcome in the tort of negligence—causation. The claimant must prove that their injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions in both fact and law. To establish cause in fact, the claimant must show, on the balance of probabilities, that the defendant’s breach caused their harm. Tests for cause in law encompass a remoteness test (which involves establishing whether the damage that occurred was foreseeable to the defendant at the time of the negligence). It is the type of harm that must be foreseeable, not its extent. The last part of the test is to ask whether any intervening acts (acts that occurred after the defendant’s breach) broke the chain of causation. If so, the defendant will not be liable.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law: Text and Materials

5. Causation and Scope of Liability  

Before liability can arise in negligence a causal link must be established between the negligence of the defendant and the injury for which the claimant claims compensation. The first hurdle that must be overcome is to show an historical connection between the defendant’s negligence and the injury (factual causation). This is normally decided by the application of the but-for test: but for the defendant’s negligence, would the claimant have suffered the injury that he or she did? If factual causation is satisfied, the claimant must then show that the defendant should be legally responsible for the damage the claimant has suffered. This second strand of the causation enquiry may involve issues of ‘legal causation’, which is to say consideration of the effect of intervening acts, whether of the claimant or of a third party, occurring between the defendant’s negligence and the claimant’s injury. It may also involve consideration of whether the defendant should not have to pay for the full extent of the damage because it is considered too remote. These issues are considered in this chapter.

Book

Cover Tort Law: Text and Materials

Mark Lunney, Donal Nolan, and Ken Oliphant

Tort Law: Text and Materials brings together a selection of carefully chosen extracts from cases and materials, with extensive commentary. Each section begins with a clear overview of the law, followed by illustrative extracts from case law and from government reports and scholarly literature, which are supported by explanation and analysis. The authors start by introducing the subject, and then examine intentional interference with the person before moving on to liability for negligence. Their analysis provides an overview of negligence liability in general, and then addresses in turn breach of duty, causation and remoteness, defences to negligence, and specific duty of care issues (psychiatric illness, economic loss, omissions and acts of third parties, and public bodies). In the following chapter, the authors consider the special liability regimes for employers and occupiers, as well as product liability and breach of statutory duty. The focus then switches to nuisance and the rule in Rylands v Fletcher, defamation, and privacy, before turning to vicarious liability, and damages for personal injury and death. Finally, they explore how tort works in practice.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law Directions

4. Negligence: causation  

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. In addition to duty of care and breach of that duty, the third essential element to bring a successful action in negligence is causation of damage. In other words, the claimant must prove on the balance of probabilities that the breach caused his damage. The defendant cannot be made liable for the harm suffered by the claimant if he is not responsible, or partly responsible, for such harm—even if he has been negligent. The question of causation can be divided into two issues: causation in fact and causation in law (also known as remoteness). The primary means of establishing factual causation is the ‘but for’ test. Reasonable foreseeability of damage of the relevant type (Wagon Mound) is required to establish that the claimant’s injury is not too remote. The chain of causation may be broken by unreasonable or unforeseeable acts or events (novus actus interveniens).

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Docks & Engineering Co. Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) [1961] AC 388  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Docks & Engineering Co. Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) [1961] AC 388. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Docks & Engineering Co. Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) [1961] AC 388  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Docks & Engineering Co. Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) [1961] AC 388. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Street on Torts

7. Causation and remoteness  

This chapter examines the issues of causation and remoteness in negligence, which basically concern the links between breaches of duty and the consequences of those breaches and the strength of those links. The chapter considers in detail causation in fact, causation in law, and remoteness of damage. We find that courts have developed several important exceptions to the ordinary ‘but for’ test of factual causation, including the Fairchild principle. Fairchild can be considered as a departure from the normal requirement that the claimant must prove factual causation of damage. Legal causation is tested by looking for unexpected events called novi actus intervenientes. Remoteness is an issue of foreseeability of damage.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to Tort Law

4. Causation  

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter discusses the issue of causation. Damages are due to the victim only if the harm was due to the tortfeasor. The harm must be the effect of the defendant's misconduct and causation must be established. The principal question to ask in matters of causation is: Did the breach of duty contribute to the occurrence of the harm? At all costs one must avoid the easy supposition that a result can have only one cause, or that one must seek out the ‘main’ cause, relevant though this may be in claims under an insurance policy. The chapter also identifies three ways that the law lets a defendant off the hook even though the harm would not have occurred but for his negligence. These are the rules of remoteness, intervention, and purpose.

Chapter

Cover Markesinis & Deakin's Tort Law

14. Deceit  

This chapter discusses the tort of deceit. The common-law rules concerning liability for dishonesty were synthesised to create the tort of deceit at the end of the eighteenth century in Pasley v. Freeman, and the tort takes its modern form from the decision of the House of Lords in Derry v. Peek in 1889. Most of the cases concern non-physical damage, that is to say, financial or pure economic loss, although the tort can also extend to cover personal injuries and damage to property. The requirements of liability are as follows: the defendant must make a false statement of existing fact with knowledge of its falsity and with the intention that the claimant should act on it, with the result (4) that the claimant acts on it to his detriment.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Barnett v Chelsea and Kensington Hospital Management Committee [1969] 1 QB 428  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Barnett v Chelsea and Kensington Hospital Management Committee [1969] 1 QB 428. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2000] 1 AC 360  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2000] 1 AC 360. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Barnett v Chelsea and Kensington Hospital Management Committee [1969] 1 QB 428  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Barnett v Chelsea and Kensington Hospital Management Committee [1969] 1 QB 428. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2000] 1 AC 360  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2000] 1 AC 360. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to Tort Law

1. Introduction  

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This introductory chapter provides an overview of tort law. It discusses the development of the law of tort in England; how the increase in tort liability is matched by a decline in the potency of contract; the differences between statutes and judge-made law; when conduct is tortious; the forum for a claim in tort; the three focal points of torts: conduct, harm, and causation; where torts happen; and the need to restrict the number of persons who can complain of any particular conduct.

Chapter

Cover Markesinis & Deakin's Tort Law

5. Liability for Damage Caused: Causation and Remoteness  

This chapter examines the third element of the tort of negligence, namely, causation. The defendant’s carelessness must be shown to have caused the loss or damage in question. The finding of a sufficient causal link is an essential ingredient in all forms of tort liability (with the exception of torts actionable without proof of damage). The discussions cover the nature of the causal inquiry; but-for causation; and remoteness of damage. There is extensive discussion of the Fairchild principle and the issue of causation in complex cases of liability for occupational illness and disease, with particular reference to the mesothelioma case law.

Chapter

Cover Markesinis & Deakin's Tort Law

7. Breach of Statutory Duty  

This chapter begins by considering the nature of the action for breach of statutory duty. The action for breach of statutory duty enables the claimant to recover compensation for losses brought about by the defendant’s failure to comply with a statutory obligation. Increasing areas of commercial and business activity are regulated by legislation designed to protect the health and safety of employees, consumers, and road-users; regulation may also have the aim of protecting certain property and financial interests. The second part of the chapter discusses the components of a liability covering the availability of a civil remedy; the scope of the civil remedy; causation, remoteness, and defences; and liability for breach of obligations arising under EU law.

Chapter

Cover Casebook on Tort Law

8. Causation and remoteness of damage  

This chapter discusses the concepts of causation and remoteness of damage. Once it has been shown that a defendant owed the claimant a duty to take care and was in breach of that duty, liability can still be avoided if it can be shown that the breach did not cause the damage, or that the damage was too remote a consequence of the breach. Causation is initially determined on the balance of probabilities—a ‘but for’ test. A causation problem usually occurs when we look at the damage and see that it was actually caused by a number of different factors either combining together to bring about the damage, or each being sufficient in and of itself to have done so but where it cannot be determined which factor actually caused the harm. A remoteness problem can arise in two different situations: where the claimant is a foreseeable claimant and the damage has in fact been caused by the defendant’s act, but where the damage is either unpredictable in extent or unpredictable in nature.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Bonnington Castings Ltd v Wardlaw [1956] AC 613  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Bonnington Castings Ltd v Wardlaw [1956] AC 613. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Wilsher v Essex Area Health Authority [1988] 1 AC 1074  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Wilsher v Essex Area Health Authority [1988] 1 AC 1074. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2003] 1 AC 32  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2003] 1 AC 32. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.