F. The Organization of Tort Law

Author:Philip H. Osborne
Profession:Faculty of Law. The University of Manitoba

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It was noted earlier that tort law is made up of a somewhat disorganized congregation of individual torts. Not surprisingly, there is no conventional way of describing this area of the law. One may describe tort law in its historical context and trace its development chronologically. One may identify the interests that tort law protects, such as personal safety, privacy, and property interests, and describe the torts that address those interests. One may focus on conduct and arrange torts in groups of intentional torts, negligent torts, and torts of strict liability. The choice is largely arbitrary. This book adopts the third option, but it begins with negligence and then deals with the intentional torts before it turns to the torts of strict liability. This approach recognizes the dominance of the tort of negligence in the landscape of Canadian tort law.53It is not only of central importance in its own right, but it also exerts a powerful influence on all other areas of tortious liability. Consequently, the Canadian law of torts can best be understood by considering the tort of negligence before the other bases of tort liability. Although the torts of nuisance and defamation may be considered torts of strict liability, they are given discrete consideration. Nuisance is, in fact, a confusing mixture of negligence and strict liability concepts, and defamation, the most technical of all the torts, is replete with unique concepts and principles.

We are now ready to embark on a discussion of the essential principles of the Canadian law of torts and...

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