LAW 1507 - Tort Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

This course provides a general introduction to the law of torts with a particular focus on negligence, encompassing duty of care; breach and standard of care; causation and remoteness; damages; defences; and vicarious liability. The interaction between the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA) and common law is considered in assessing the different stages of a negligence analysis. A representative range of other torts are also considered, and may include trespass to the person, nuisance, trespass to land, trespass to goods, and defamation. At least one intentional tort will be considered. Remedies and defences to these torts are also explored.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 1507
    Course Tort Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Corequisites LAW 1501
    Restrictions Available to LLB and B.Criminology with B.Laws and BArts Advanced with B.Laws students only
    Course Description This course provides a general introduction to the law of torts with a particular focus on negligence, encompassing duty of care; breach and standard of care; causation and remoteness; damages; defences; and vicarious liability. The interaction between the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA) and common law is considered in assessing the different stages of a negligence analysis. A representative range of other torts are also considered, and may include trespass to the person, nuisance, trespass to land, trespass to goods, and defamation. At least one intentional tort will be considered. Remedies and defences to these torts are also explored.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Maeghan Toews

    Telephone 83135936
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Please note that the lectures for this subject commence in Week 3.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyse the foundational principles of tort law;
    2. Apply tort law to complex problems using appropriate legal problem-solving techniques;
    3. Structure and sustain concise and coherent written arguments for a legal audience; 
    4. Utilise and apply legal referencing rules to written work; and
    5. Exercise judgement in the application of tort law to simulated client situations in an academic environment.
    The Legal Practitioners' Education and Admissions Council (LPEAC) sets rules for the academic requirements for admission to legal practice in South Australia. Students must demonstrate a satisfactory level of understanding and application of 11 core areas of legal knowledge. This course teaches the following topics within these core areas:
    • Negligence, including defences;
    • A representative range of torts (other than negligence) and their defences (e.g. intentional torts to the person and to goods, nuisance, defamation, and/or negligent statements leading to pure economic loss); and
    • Damages.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 5

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 5

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3, 4, 5

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Prescribed textbook:
    Martin Davies and Ian Malkin, Focus: Torts (LexisNexis, 9th ed, 2021)

    Additional materials (e.g. cases) will be provided through the course MyUni page.
    Recommended Resources
    1. Bernadette Richards and Melissa de Zwart, Tort Law Principles (Thomson Lawbook, 2nd ed, 2017)
    2. Harold Luntz et al, Torts: Cases and Commentary (LexisNexis Butterworths, 8th ed, 2017);
    3. Carolyn Sappideen and Prue Vines (eds), Fleming's The Law of Torts (Lawbook Co, 12th ed, 2016); and
    4. Amanda Stickley, Australian Torts Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 4th ed, 2016).
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, course materials, and assignments. 

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up-to-date with these materials throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught through lectures supported by interactive problem-solving seminars. Students must come to seminars prepared with written answers to problem questions, as all sessions will be conducted on the assumption that the relevant reading and preparation has been completed. 


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact time: There are 2-hour lectures (Weeks 3-11) and 2-hour seminars (Weeks 4-12) each week. This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the semester. 

    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes, it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments. The University expects full-time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours of private study each week per 3-unit course in addition to your regular classes.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Students will have 10 weeks of intensive teaching in this subject. The first lecture will be held in Week 3, with seminars commencing in Week 4.

    Topics will include:

    -Introduction to Torts (and alternative compensation schemes)
    -Trespass to the Person (Battery, Assault, and False Imprisonment)
    -the Elements of Negligence (Duty of Care, Standard of Care/Breach, Causation)
    -Defences and Damages to a Negligence Action
    -Vicarious Liability (including principles of concurrent and proportionate liability); and

    A detailed course schedule will be provided on the course's MyUni page.
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no additional requirements for completion of this course other than described elsewhere in this document.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting % Redeemable Length Course Learning Outcomes
    Written Assignment #1 Individual Friday of Week 6 15%  Yes (provided the student scores a grade of at least 40%) 800 words 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Written Assignment #2 Individual Friday of Week 10 20% No 1000 words 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Final Exam Individual Exam period 65% or 80% No 150 minutes  1, 2, 3, 5
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Assignment #1 can be redeemed by the final exam if the student achieves a grade of at least 40% on the assignment. If this requirement is met and the student earns a higher grade on the final exam than the assignment, then the assignment grade can be redeemed (i.e. it will not count toward the student's final mark in the course). If this requirement is not met (i.e. the student earns a grade lower than 40% on the assignment), the assignment cannot be redeemed and the grade awarded will count toward the student's final mark in the course.
    Assessment Detail

    This assignment will involve responding to a problem-based question. Students will have to identify legal issues and apply tort law principles to a complex fact pattern.   


    This assignment will involve responding to a problem-based question. Students will have to identify legal issues and apply tort law principles to a complex fact pattern.  


    The final exam will be held in the University Examination Period. Students will have to identify legal issues and apply legal principles from a range of topics throughout the course to complex fact patterns.

    All assessments will be submitted and monitored through text or code comparative software (e.g. Turnitin) where possible.

    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted electronically through Turnitin. Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions.

    Written work must comply with the The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th ed).

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.

    Late Submission Penalties
    When an assessment is submitted after the due date, without an extension, 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend and public holidays. For example, an assignment that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc.

    Word Length Penalties
    5% of the total mark possible for a written assessment will be deducted for every 100 words (or part thereof) by which it exceeds a stipulated word limit. For example, a 3,000 word essay graded at 63% will have 5% deducted if it is between 3,001 and 3,100 words long for a final mark of 58%. If the essay is between 3,101 and 3,200 words long, 10% will be deducted for a final mark of 53%, etc. Word limits include all words in the text, in headings, and in quotations, but exclude citations in footnotes. Any separate cover page, table of contents, bibliography or list of sources is excluded from the word limit. If the word limit is misstated, this may be regarded as academic dishonesty.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia. Academic Integrity is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.