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Negligence is one of the most heavily litigated causes of action in common law jurisdictions. It is of enormous practical importance in a very wide range of fact situations. It is also a dynamic area of law: the relevant principles are constantly being applied to new fact situations, and the courts are regularly forced to grapple with difficult questions about the scope of negligence liability. This subject examines key current issues and controversies in the law of negligence in the light of theoretical and comparative perspectives. The lecturers have both published widely on private law topics, including a range of issues in the law of negligence.
Principal topics include:
- An overview of the law of negligence, including theoretical and historical perspectives and the place of negligence in tort law and private law
- The duty of care requirement in general terms, including the distinction between duty in law and duty in fact, the approach to the duty question in novel situations and the role of public policy in duty decisions
- Liability for psychiatric injury
- Liability for pure economic loss
- Liability for omissions
- Liability of public authorities
- Current issues in the standard of care and its application, with particular reference to professional negligence cases
- The requirement of damage
- Factual causation, including recovery for loss of a chance
- Scope of liability (legal causation and remoteness)
- Defences (both common law and statutory).
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of current issues in the law of negligence
- Be able to examine, analyse, interpret and assess critically the effect of the relevant legal doctrines and statutory provisions
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the considerations driving the development of this area of the law
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the different bases of liability, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to analyse and understand the emerging issues in the law of negligence
- Have the communication skills to articulate clearly and convey complex information regarding the law of negligence to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Last updated: 2 December 2019