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Tort law LA2001

This module will introduce you to the organising principles of tort law, such as damage, fault and vicarious liability.

For the majority of the module, you explore each element of the cause of action in a negligence claim, with particular emphasis on the duty of care concept.

The module builds on the duty of care concept to develop your knowledge and understanding of principles of liability governing pure economic loss, psychiatric harm and liability of public authorities.

It also explores those torts aimed at the safe and quiet enjoyment of land and protection of reputation.

Topics covered

  • The nature and function of tort law. The scope of tort, historical development and relation to other branches of the common law, human rights principles and European law.
  • Organising themes. Damage and fault.
  • The principles of duty, breach and damage components of negligence.
  • Elements of the duty test in the context of liability for psychiatric injury, pure economic loss and on liability of public bodies.
  • Defences to negligence.
  • Vicarious liability.
  • Defective premises and the law.
  • The tort of nuisance and the rule in Rylands v Fletcher.
  • Defamation.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the relationship between policy and principle in common law and legislative provisions in the tort of negligence
  • Explain the way in which the duty concept is used as a device to control liability for pure economic loss, psychiatric injury and the liability of public bodies
  • Analyse the legal principles governing liability of occupiers of premises
  • Explain the law of nuisance and the rule in Rylands v Fletcher
  • Analyse the elements of a claim in defamation and the extent to which the defences to defamation promote free speech
  • Develop capacity for effective legal analysis and argument
  • Enhanced reasoning skills in relation to moderately complex legal questions and problems
  • Evaluate and critique standard legal materials and arguments
  • Conduct moderately complex research exercises and use research evidence.


3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

Giliker, P. Tort. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2020) seventh edition [ISBN 9780414077751].