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This subject explores a core area of private law, being the law of torts. It aims to broaden and deepen students' knowledge and understanding of the law of torts in three ways. First, it looks at a range of topics that are not usually covered, at least not in any detail, in the compulsory subjects. Second, the subject examines broader theoretical debates as to the nature and function of tort law, and how particular torts figure in these debates. Third, it examines case law related to these topics from other common law jurisdictions in addition to Australian materials.
Topics may vary from year to year but will include some of the following:
- theoretical accounts of tort law;
- the structure of tort law;
- economic torts;
- breach of privacy;
- breach of statutory duty;
- misfeasance in public office and malicious prosecution;
- trespass to goods and conversion; false imprisonment
- vicarious liability and non-delegable duty;
- damages and other remedies for torts;
- alternative compensation systems;
- comparative perspectives on tort law; and
- contentious and emerging issues in the law of torts.
This subject is run on a seminar-style and interactive basis. The lecturer will introduce and contextualise the issues; but students are expected to have done the reading beforehand and to come prepared to contribute to class discussion. Students in this subject should not expect to be taught the law from the front.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will have an advanced (in both depth and breadth), integrated and critical understanding of the law of torts. A student will therefore be able to:
- critically analyse and evaluate various tort doctrines from a range of theoretical perspectives which seek to explain the subject;
- display an advanced knowledge of some classical and contemporary debates and issues in tort law theory;
- in a self-directed way, research, develop, and express opinions (in written form) about tort law (that is, its rules, principles, doctrines and remedies) from a theoretical perspective, incorporating appropriate citation practices; and
- compare the tort law of Australia to that of other common law jurisdictions, understanding the similarities and differences between them.
A student who has successfully completed the subject will demonstrate a high-level ability to:
- identify, locate, reflect critically on and evaluate relevant research materials (including cases, statutes, and theoretical writings) from multiple common law jurisdictions;
- formulate, develop, manage and realise, from inception to completion, a sustained research essay engaging with the theoretical literature as well as with legal rules, principles, doctrines and/or remedies from multiple common law jurisdictions; and
- express, in written form, reflections and arguments touching on topics explored in this subject.
Last updated: 29 April 2020