Law of Torts

Nature and Concept of Tort

A tort is derived from the Latin word ‘tortus’ which means wrong or crooked. It implies to conduct which is notorious or twisted. The equivalent word in English is wrong. Thus, tort in common law is a civil wrong. The nature of Tort law is thus essentially concerned with compensation for damages for civil wrongs suffered as a result of another’s acts or omissions.

 What is Tort Law?

The civil wrong surfaces as a result of the breach (an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.)of a duty imposed by law.

nature of tort

Thus there are, for example, duties not to assault another person, not to trespass (entering onto land without the consent of the landowner) on another’s land, not to take another’s goods, and to take care to not injure one’s neighbor.

Some duties are laid down by legislation; others are found in the common law. The emphasis on the nature of tort as a civil wrong differentiates it from crime.

Browse more Topics under Law Of Torts

Let us Understand Laws of India here in detail

Difference between Tort and Crime

Tort Crime
Private Wrong Public Wrong
Breach of Private Duties  Breach of Public Duties
Object of action is compensation Object of action is punishing the wrong does
Individual has to approach a Civil Court for redressal State initiates prosecution against the wrongdoer

Characteristics of a Tort

  1. Tort is a private wrong that contravenes the legal right of an individual or a group.
  2. The person who engages in tort is called “tort-feasor” or “Wrongdoer”.
  3. The place of trial for tort is Civil Court.
  4. Tort litigation is compoundable which means that the complainant can withdraw the suit filed by him.
  5. Tort is a specie of infringement (the act of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation) of a person’s rights or civil wrong.

Types of Torts

There are three types of torts depending upon the tortfeasor’s intent.

Intentional Tort Negligence Strict Liability
If the tortfeasor (wrongdoer) acted with intent to cause the damage or harm. If the tortfeasor did not act intentionally but nonetheless failed to act in a way a rational person would have acted. If the tortfeasor is engaged in certain activities and someone is injured or killed, the tortfeasor is held liable no matter how cautious or incautious he or she has been.
  • Against the Person: Assault, Battery*, Infliction of mental distress, False imprisonment
  • Against the Property: Trespass

  • Advertent Negligence:
    Example: A person who drives angrily in a crowded street causes injury to a person is said to have committed Advertent Negligence
  • Inadvertent Negligence: Example: Doctor who treats a patient with negligence
Inherently dangerous activities

 Question On Nature of Tort law and its characteristics

Ques. Which of the following interests is not protected by the law of tort?

  1. Reputation
  2. Physical safety
  3.  Peaceful enjoyment of one’s land

Ans: Option ‘a’ is the correct answer. Tort law protects a wide range of interests but the interest in the protection of one’s commercial position is not one of them.

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