Tort law gives rise to most of the cases that populate our civil courts. There are different kinds of torts which can become the basis of litigation. For the purposes of the SQE, you are required to know about the tort of negligence. This is what we will look at first.
In order to establish whether a tort of negligence is committed, there are a number of steps that you need to consider.
Firstly, you need to consider whether the defendant owed the claimant a duty of care. If they did owe the claimant a duty of care then you have to consider whether a breach occurred. If a breach did occur then you have to consider causation. Broadly this requires you to consider whether the defendant’s breach of any duty caused damage to the complainant. If it did then you should consider whether the defendant has any defences to the claim. Potential claims in tort can break down at any of these stages. If there was no initial duty of care then there is no liability and negligence. Similarly if there was no breach of the duty then again there is no liability and negligence and if a defendant has an actionable defence to any breach then there will not be any liability arising from the negligence claim. We will go through each of these stages in detail.