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Laws 301 Lecture Notes Part 1 Notes

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This is an extract of our Laws 301 Lecture Notes Part 1 document, which we sell as part of our Tort Law Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Otago (Undergrad) students.

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LAWS 301 Lecture Notes
Part 1: Torts to the Person
INTRODUCTION TO TORTS............................................................................................................................ 4
FUNCTION...............................................................................................................................................................4
LOCATION IN THE LAW............................................................................................................................................5
Tort v Criminal.................................................................................................................................................5
Tort v Public.....................................................................................................................................................5
Couch v Attorney General [2008] 3 NZLR 725 (SC).....................................................................................................5

Tort v Contract.................................................................................................................................................6
Tort v Equity.....................................................................................................................................................7
Aims of Tort Law..............................................................................................................................................7
Justice..............................................................................................................................................................8
McFarlane v Tayside Health Board [2000] 2 AC 59.....................................................................................................8

Protecting interests/vindicating rights..........................................................................................................10
Ashley v Chief Constable of Sussex...........................................................................................................................10
The Person............................................................................................................................................................... 11
Property................................................................................................................................................................... 11
Economic.................................................................................................................................................................. 11

Compensation................................................................................................................................................12
Efficiency........................................................................................................................................................12
Insurance.......................................................................................................................................................12
Individual responsibility.................................................................................................................................12
FAULT AND INTENTION......................................................................................................................................... 13
Actions v Omissions.......................................................................................................................................13
Degrees of fault.............................................................................................................................................13
Relevance of intention...................................................................................................................................13
DEVELOPMENT....................................................................................................................................................14
TORTS TO THE PERSON............................................................................................................................... 16
PRIVACY.............................................................................................................................................................16
Mechanisms to protect privacy.....................................................................................................................16
Equity - Breach of Confidence..................................................................................................................................17
AB Consolidated Ltd v Europe Strength Food Co Pty Ltd [1978] 2 NZLR 515........................................................17
Campbell v MGN Ltd............................................................................................................................................18
Impact on Third Party Recipients..............................................................................................................................19
Attorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd [1990] 1 AC 109 (HL)...................................................................19
Douglas & Ors v Hello! Ltd [2005] 4 All ER 128....................................................................................................19

Public Disclosure of Embarrassing Private Facts...........................................................................................20
Bradley v Wingnut Films Ltd [1993] 1 NZLR 415.......................................................................................................20
P v D [2000] 2 NZLR 591...........................................................................................................................................20
Hosking v Runting [2005] 1 NZLR 1 (CA)...................................................................................................................22
Facts.................................................................................................................................................................... 22
Issue.................................................................................................................................................................... 22
Rule.....................................................................................................................................................................22
Application.......................................................................................................................................................... 23
Tucker v News Media Ownership Ltd [1986] 2 NZLR 716.........................................................................................24
Andrews v Television New Zealand Ltd [2009] 1 NZLR 220 (HC)...............................................................................24
Campbell v MGN Ltd [2004] 2 AC 457......................................................................................................................25
Peck v United Kingdom (2003) 13 BHRC 669............................................................................................................26
Brown v Attorney General [2006] DCR 630..............................................................................................................27
TVNZ v Rogers [2008] 2 NZLR 277 (SC).....................................................................................................................28
Henderson v Walker.................................................................................................................................................28

Intrusion into Seclusion or Solitude...............................................................................................................30

1 C v Holland [2012] 3 NZLR 672 (HC)..........................................................................................................................30
Facts.................................................................................................................................................................... 30
Issue.................................................................................................................................................................... 30
Rule.....................................................................................................................................................................31

DEFAMATION.........................................................................................................................................................32
Background....................................................................................................................................................33
Opai v Culpan [2017] NZAR 1142 (HC)......................................................................................................................33
Sellman v Slater [2018] 2 NZLR 218..........................................................................................................................34
Strict Liability............................................................................................................................................................ 37
Elements of the Tort.................................................................................................................................................39

Publication.....................................................................................................................................................40
Repetition rule.......................................................................................................................................................... 41
Limitation.................................................................................................................................................................42
Loutchansky v Times Newspapers Ltd (No 2) [2002] 1 All ER 652........................................................................43
Dow Jones & Co Inc v Glutnick [2002] CLR 575....................................................................................................43
Sellman v Slater...................................................................................................................................................43
Third Party Publications (publication of omission or adoption)................................................................................44
Murray v Wishart [2014] NZCA 461.....................................................................................................................44
Internet publication..................................................................................................................................................45

Reference to plaintiff.....................................................................................................................................47
Morgan v Odhams Press Ltd [1971] 1 WLR 1239 (HL)..............................................................................................47

Determining the meaning.............................................................................................................................48
Fair minded reader...................................................................................................................................................48
Stocker v Stocker [2019] 3 All ER 647 (UKSC).......................................................................................................50
Lewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd [1964] AC 234 (HL)...................................................................................................51
APN New Zealand Ltd v Simunovich Fisheries Ltd [2010] 1 NZLR 315 (SCNZ).......................................................52
Context..................................................................................................................................................................... 53
Sellman v Slater [2018] 2 NZLR 218.....................................................................................................................53
Stocker v Stocker [2019] 3 All ER 647 (UKSC).......................................................................................................54
John v Guardian Newspapers and Media Ltd [2008] EWHC 3066........................................................................54
Bane and Antidote....................................................................................................................................................55
Charleston v News Group Newspapers Ltd [1995] 2 AC 65..................................................................................55
Truth (NZ) Ltd v Bowles [1966] NZLR 303 (CA).....................................................................................................56
Morosi v BroadcastingStation 2 GB Ptd Ltd [1980] 2 NSWLR...............................................................................56
McGee v Independent Newspapers Ltd [2006] NZAR 24......................................................................................56
Pleading Meanings...................................................................................................................................................58
"False" or "popular" innuendo - s 37(2)..............................................................................................................59
'True' or 'legal' innuendo - s 37(3)......................................................................................................................63

Defamatory Meaning....................................................................................................................................65
Berkoff v Burchill [1996] 4 All ER 1008.....................................................................................................................65
New Zealand Magazines Ltd v Hadlee (No 2) [2005] NZAR 621................................................................................67

Defences to Defamation................................................................................................................................69
Innocent Dissemination............................................................................................................................................69
Emmens v Pottle (1885) 16 QBD 354...................................................................................................................69
Truth (or justification)..............................................................................................................................................71
Television New Zealand Ltd v Haines [2006] 2 NZLR 433.....................................................................................72
Honest Opinion........................................................................................................................................................75
Based on known (true) facts................................................................................................................................78
Expression of value judgement or comment on facts..........................................................................................79
Privileges..................................................................................................................................................................80
Absolute privilege................................................................................................................................................80
Qualified privilege...............................................................................................................................................81
Loss of privilege...................................................................................................................................................81
Self-defence privilege..........................................................................................................................................82
Responsible Communication on Matter of Public Interest.......................................................................................84
Durie v Gardiner [2018] 3 NZLR 131 (CA).............................................................................................................84
Political Discussion..............................................................................................................................................86
Neutral reporting.................................................................................................................................................87

2 TRESPASS TO THE PERSON........................................................................................................................................88
Assault and Battery.......................................................................................................................................88
False Imprisonment.......................................................................................................................................89
Total restraint...........................................................................................................................................................89
Bird v Jones (1845) 7 QB 742...............................................................................................................................89
Robinson v Balmain New Ferry Co [1910] AC 295................................................................................................89
Willms v Kaluza [2011] DCR 62............................................................................................................................90
Collins v Wilcock [1984] 1 WLR 1172 at 1177 per Robert Goff LJ.........................................................................90
Walker v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] 1 WLR 312................................................................90
Coles Myer Limited v Webster [2009] NSWCA 299..............................................................................................91
Meering v Graham-White Aviation Co Ltd (1919) 122 LTR 44..............................................................................91
Strict Liability............................................................................................................................................................ 92
R v Governor of Brockhill Prison, Ex p Evans [2001] 2 AC 19................................................................................92
Unlawful Restraint (i.e. no lawful justification)........................................................................................................92
Blundell v Attorney-General [1968] NZLR 341......................................................................................................92
Intention to Restrain................................................................................................................................................94
R v Governor of Brockhill Prison, Ex p Evans [2001] 2 AC 19................................................................................94
Thompson v Attorney-General [2014] NZAR 1282...............................................................................................94
Coles Myer Limited v Webster [2009] NSWCA 299..............................................................................................96

Malicious Prosecution...................................................................................................................................98
Initiating a prosecution.............................................................................................................................................98
Commonwealth Life Assurance Society Ltd v Brain (1935) 53 CLR 343 (HCA)......................................................98
Watters v Pacific Delivery Services Ltd (1963) 42 DLR (2nd) 661 (SCC)................................................................99
Identity of the prosecutor........................................................................................................................................99
Commercial Union Assurance Co of N.Z. Ltd v Lamont [1989] 3 NZLR 187 (CA)...................................................99
Martin v Watson [1996] AC 74 (HL)...................................................................................................................100
Favourable termination..........................................................................................................................................101
Van Heeren v Cooper [1999] 1 NZLR 731...........................................................................................................101
The Mental Elements.............................................................................................................................................104
Maliciously Commenced Civil Proceedings.............................................................................................................105
Crawford Adjusters v Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd [2014] AC 366 (PC)...........................................105

3 Introduction to Torts
Lecture 1: (25/02/20)

Function
"A tort is a wrongful act or omission, for which compensation or other remedy can be awarded to the claimant (or the person aggrieved) against the defendant
(or tortfeasor)." - Rachael Mulheron Principles of Tort Law Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2016





Torts define people's rights by providing a mechanism for protecting rights and securing compensation for infringement of rights
Wrongful - acts or omissions deemed wrongful by society
Can be an action, but sometimes can be an omission (from a special relationship, duty of care)
Compensatory role focused on negligence tort, but other remedies available to protect many interests against harmful conduct
Claimant English, Plaintiff NZ
33 torts identified in England, more in NZ - England does not recognise privacy, but NZ does
"The law of torts hovers over virtually every activity of modern society. The driver of every automobile on our highways, the pilot of every aeroplane in the sky, and the captain of every ship plying our waters must abide by the standards of tort law… Tort law, therefore, is a subject of abiding concern not only to the judges and lawyers who must administer it, but also the public at large, whose every move is regulated by it."

Every move is regulated by the law of torts - e.g. responsibility to use the skills of a reasonable lawyer when advising clients
"The law of torts concerns the obligations of persons living in a crowded society to respect the safety, property, and personality of their neighbours, both as an a priori matter and as a duty to compensate for wrongfully caused harm, ex post.
Tort law … involves questions of how people should treat one another and the rules of proper behaviour that society imposes on each citizen for avoiding improper harm to others... [Both] fields, tort law and philosophy, involve a search for norms of proper behaviour, norms that may be used for evaluating the propriety or wrongfulness of particular instances of harmful conduct."


Torts create a normative framework, don't have to look outside of torts to measure whether this is good
Mediate between competing rights and interests

4 Location in the law
Tort v Criminal
Overlap with criminal law - regulating behaviour
"A tort is a wrong recognised by law. But torts are not the only wrongs recognised by law. […] The great cleavage is between criminal wrongs, variously called crimes or offences, which may result in a prosecution and punishment, and civil wrongs which lead not to a criminal prosecution but to a civil proceeding for damages or other private redress."



Same conduct can fit on both sides of public and private law - torts are private law
Both try to establish community standards, providing deterrence
Both impose obligations of universal application e.g Trespass was originally a crime, contrary to the King's interest

Tort v Public
Lecture 2: (27/02/20)
Although primary function of tort law is to protect private rights and interests, there may be circumstances where damage to individuals is a violation of public rights


Public (constitutional + administrative) law - concerned with regulating behaviour of public bodies
Public nuisance is a crime - person who has suffered actual damage beyond that inflicted on the public generally has a claim in tort
Negligence - public bodies not immune to ordinary negligence claims (council negligently issues a certificate for building compliance, building is leaky)

Tort law operates in the shadow of public (administrative) law - negligence should not undermine restrictions of public law remedies.


Decisions that survive a public law attack should not be attacked again via tort law
If the reason is a strategic decision made by a public body, tort law will generally not get involved
The consequences of an operational public decision can be challenged by tort law

Couch v Attorney General [2008] 3 NZLR 725 (SC)
Bell had been released on bail, was not to go to place of previous employment. Bell breached this term and shot people.


Concern was that the probation office was not doing its job
Case did not go to trial, but if the probation officer failed to monitor Bell appropriately, tort law could intervene
However, if it was a head office budgetary issue, this falls under public law.

(Private) Law of Obligations - Private law is seen to have three elements:


Contract
Equity
Restitution or unjust enrichment

5 Tort v Contract
Contract law involves reciprocal promises voluntarily taken by the parties to create enforceable obligations.

In this regard, tort and contract have a degree of convergence - lawyers voluntarily taking on a duty of reasonable care when giving legal advice
For at least a hundred years … common lawyers have operated within a particular conceptual framework governing the law of obligations. Within this framework,
the fundamental distinction has been that between obligations which are voluntarily assumed, and obligations which are imposed by law. The former constitute the law of contract, the latter fall within the purview of the law of tort."

Three main differences:

1. Contractual obligations are voluntary assumed, tortious obligations are imposed by law.

Grey areas, how voluntary are contractual obligations?

2. Privity - contracts prevents third parties from suing vendor because they are not a party to the contract.




It was not until Donoghue v Stevenson when third parties were recognised as able to bring claims in negligence
Neighbourhood principle
Traditional contract law approach - we should not allow people to obtain benefits they did not bargain for, obstacle for recognising tortious obligations
In England, economic losses are something contracted into to prevent loss against.

3. When someone breaches a contract, expectations of the innocent party are protected.






Torts do not focus on protecting expectations but removing the consequences of wrongdoing.
E.g misrepresentation - if someone misrepresents the value of a house, contract law gives the innocent party the value as if the misrepresentation was true.
Tort law puts the innocent party in the same position as if the wrong had not occurred - reliance interest.
Donoghue v Stevenson - innocent party gets a bottle of ginger beer back (contract), innocent party should be compensated for their medical expenses and psychological distress (tort)
Until 1995, cannot have concurrent duties in tort and contract. Now, if a contract creates express duties, that will shape the duties owed in negligence.
In contract, remedies are limited to expectation or reliance - provides a powerful tool to limit exposure to tortious liability.

6 Tort v Equity
For equitable obligations to arise, there would normally have to be a close relationship of trust and confidence.

Closer relationship than tort or contract
Law will be harsher when someone is in breach of equitable duties

Aims of Tort Law
There is no singular agreed upon aim or list of aims that the law of torts aim to satisfy:
It is perhaps unkind to call tort the dustbin of the law of obligations, but it is certainly the great residuary category. No one theory explains the whole of the law…

Tort law protects a wide range of interests against conduct which is harmful to a civilised society
Protection is not limited to compensation - vindication of rights

Traditional approach to tort law views it as a series of discrete torts:

Historical development of law as growth of different forms of against different wrongs
Each tort is seen as having its own characteristics, requiring its own exposition

The judge's own morality and beliefs will have a large impact on how they will determine disputes,
thus creating the law:
"…the law is part of the world of competing ideas markedly influenced by cultural differences" - Lord Steyn in McFarlane v Tayside Health Board [2000]

If someone has been harmed, the law must make a choice
"The effect of tort law is to transfer resources from one party to another in order to return the victim to her position prior to the commission of the tort. The rules of tort law provide a framework for establishing when and how this can be done.
If looked at from an economic point of view, tort liability rules provide an incentive for producers to take cost-effective measures to prevent defects."


Economic viewpoint of the law of torts - primary function of tort law is economic efficiency.
Old school of thought.

The law of torts performs a complex function - vindication, deterrence, and appeasement:
Even where we are concerned with material or financial loss, the law clearly cannot decree that whenever one suffers loss, he should automatically be entitled to redress from the author of that loss…

Who is at fault? Who is liable? Who is not liable? Why?

7

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