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Valerie Irie (103)

Lecture 1 - Tort Law.docx

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Valerie Irie

Lecture 1 Managing Risk • Assessing potential legal risks that businesses face • Determining methods to reduce that risk – Prevention • Devising strategies to cope with legal issues when they arise – Resolution options The Legal System in Canada • Common Law vs. Civil law – Quebec follows civil system of law, all of their laws are codified – Most english speaking countries follow common law system – Within Common law system there is civil law, which is law between civilians (Civil) where civilian vs Crown is criminal • Federal vs. Provincial • Constitution Act, 1982 – Charter of Rights and Freedoms • If a statute is enacted that violates Charter, then the supreme court can strike it down • Judges can also not create a law that violates a statue • Higher the court, the more stature a law hasàhowever a low court judge can set precedent, but cannot violate statute or Charter • Statute – Law that is codified (written down) and is created by the various levels of government – Criminal Code/Tax Act/etc is a statute – Statute will always overrule common law • Judge made law – stare decisis • Precedent – People referring to prior cases and their decisions to influence their cases – Eventually forms the body of law, grown over time Legalese • Some terms you need to know: – Action = the lawsuit • Bring a civil action/sueing someone in a court of law – Cause of Action = the type of lawsuit, e.g. tort • The type of action you are suing them for – Plaintiff/Defendant = parties to the action • Plaintiff person with complaint • Defendant person defending action – Claim = the reason for the lawsuit – Damages = amount of money – Prima Facie = “on the face of it” Tort Law • Personal injury – About receiving compensation for harm done to a person or their property – Could also be purely economic harm • Compensation for harm done – Compensatory in nature NOT punitive – Punitive measures do not help the victim deal with the damages/etc done to them • Tort law is between individuals – When bringing a lawsuit, it is the plaintiff or prosecutor who has the obligation to prove their case • Criminal law is between individuals and the state • Different standards of proof required between tort law and criminal law – Tort – balance of probabilities • Have to show 51% chance or better that defendant liable, or not held liable – Criminal – beyond a reasonable doubt • If not found guilty then they are not liable • Have to be beyond sure that person is guilty of their crime Object of Tort Law • The object of tort law is to place the injured party back in the position s/he would’ve been, had the tortious act not occurred • Look at past and other cases to decide on costs • Realistically, all that can be done is compensate with money • Always subjective Definition • A tort is a wrongful act* done to the person or property of another • Have to have a harm for tort to occur, as otherwise nothing to compensate for * Harm is a required element of any tort – the wrongful act must cause harm Strict Liability - History • The requirement of a writ – Category of wrongdoing acknowledged in law • Strict liability – no need to prove fault • If there was a writ, automatically found liable and had to compensate plaintiff Tort Law Evolved • Today, the conduct of the tortfeasor must be taken into consideration • The wrong committed must still be one recognized in law • The wrong committed must cause harm to the injured party • Fault must be shown in some degree in order for injured party to receive compensation • Tortfeaser is the wrongdoer • Requires both element of harm and fault • Our tort system today is fault based* *Some torts do not require an element of fault Conduct Scale • Accidental ------ Negligent ----- Intentional • Can’t sue for accidental or non responsible acts • Broadest category of wrongdoing is negligence, not taking care to prevent harm Strict Liability Torts • Some torts by statute are still considered to be strict liability and therefore, no fault element is required – E.g. public nuisance • Nuisance: – Public Nuisance – interference with the lawful use of public
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