B. The Origins of Canadian Tort Law

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

Page 7

The origins of Canadian tort law lie in the thousand-year evolution of the English common law of torts.20The common law was received in all provinces other than Quebec21and it has given Canadian tort law its language, concepts, and system of classification. Canada, along with the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, are all part of the common law tradition. This explains why Canadian judges continue to cite landmark English cases and are influenced to an increasing extent by American cases and, to a lesser extent, by Australian and New Zealand cases. Canada has, however, created a unique law of torts. It continues to reflect its origins and traditions but it is increasingly an

Page 8

independent product of Canada’s societal values and attitudes to the allocation of losses.

[20] For a brief summary of the history of English tort law, see R.M. Solomon, B.P. Feldthusen, & R.W. Kostal, Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts, 7th ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2007) at 5-9. A detailed account can be found in C.H.S. Fifoot, History and Sources of the Common Law: Tort and Contract (London: Stevens, 1949).

[21] For a useful summary of the Quebec law of torts, see...

To continue reading