LAW 1507 - Tort Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course provides a general introduction to the law of torts with a particular focus on negligence. It considers: general and specific duty categories; standard of care; causation and remoteness; damages; defences; vicarious liability; and an introduction to statutory interpretation and the interaction between statute and common law, with specific emphasis on locating and explaining judicial consideration of the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA). Remedies for negligence are explored and alternative methods of providing compensation for accidental injury addressed. A representative range of other torts are considered, and may include trespass to the person, nuisance, trespass to land and concurrent liability. At least one intentional tort will be considered.

  • 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
    Prerequisites LAW 1501
    Corequisites LAW 1501
    Restrictions LAW 1502; Available to LLB students only
    Course Description This course provides a general introduction to the law of torts with a particular focus on negligence. It considers: general and specific duty categories; standard of care; causation and remoteness; damages; defences; vicarious liability; and an introduction to statutory interpretation and the interaction between statute and common law, with specific emphasis on locating and explaining judicial consideration of the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA). Remedies for negligence are explored and alternative methods of providing compensation for accidental injury addressed. A representative range of other torts are considered, and may include trespass to the person, nuisance, trespass to land and concurrent liability. At least one intentional tort will be considered.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Maeghan Toews

    Telephone 831 35936
    Email maeghan.toews@adelaide.edu.au
    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. Undertake legal research at a foundational level and evaluate legal information.
    3. Apply tort law to complex problems using appropriate legal problem-solving techniques.
    4. Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written arguments for a legal audience. 
    5. Exercise judgement in the application of tort law to simulated client situations in an academic environment.
    6. Analyse the impact of tort law from a policy perspective.
    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 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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 5, 6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 3, 5, 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4, 5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    1. Course materials available on MyUni;
    2. Bernadette Richards and Melissa de Zwart, Tort Law Principles (Thomson Lawbook, 2nd ed, 2017); and
    3. Carolyn Sappideen, Prue Vines and Penelope Watson, Torts: Commentary and Materials (Thomson Reuters, 12th ed, 2016).
    Recommended Resources
    1. Harold Luntz et al, Torts: Cases and Commentary (LexisNexis Butterworths, 8th ed, 2017);
    2. Carolyn Sappideen and Prue Vines (eds), Fleming's The Law of Torts (Lawbook Co, 12th ed, 2016);
    3. Martin Davies and Ian Malkin, Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 8th ed, 2017);
    4. Kit Barker et al, The Law of Torts in Australia (Oxford, 5th ed, 2012);
    5. RP Balkin and JLR Davis, Law of Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 5th ed, 2013);
    6. Amanda Stickley, Australian Torts Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 4th ed, 2016); and
    7. Pam Stewart and Anita Stuhmcke, Australian Principles of Tort Law (The Federation Press, 4th ed, 2017).
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture materials (including slides, and where available, audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Outline, Lecture and Seminar Guides, and Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught through lectures supported by interactive problem-solving seminars and practical exercises developing primary materials. 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. 


    Workload

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

    Contact time: Attend 2-hour lectures plus 2-hour seminars 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. 


    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. The programme of all activities is as follows:

    Week 3 Lecture

    Week 3 Seminar

    Topic 1: Introduction to Tort Law No seminar 
    Week 4 LectureWeek 4 Seminar
    Topic 2: Intentional Torts to the Person Topic 1: Introduction to Tort Law
    Week 5 LectureWeek 5 Seminar
    Topic 3a: Negligence
    • Duty of Care
    • Mental Harm
    Topic 2: Intentional Torts to the Person

    Week 6 LectureWeek 6 Seminar
    Topic 3b: Negligence
    • Standard of Care
    • Omissions 
    Topic 3a: Negligence
    • Duty of Care
    • Mental Harm
    Assignment #1 is due at the end of Week 6
    MID-SEMESTER BREAK
    Week 7 LectureWeek 7 Seminar
    Topic 3c: Negligence
    • Causation and Remoteness

    Topic 3b: Negligence
    • Standard of Care
    • Omissions
    Week 8 LectureWeek 8 Seminar
    Topic 3d: Negligence
    • Defences and Damages
    Topic 3c: Negligence
    • Causation and Remoteness
    Week 9 LectureWeek 9 Seminar
    Topic 4: Vicarious Liability and Non-delegable Duties Topic 3d: Negligence
    • Defences and Damages
    Week 10 LectureWeek 10 Seminar
    Topic 5: Defamation Topic 4: Vicarious Liability and Non-delegable Duties
     Assignment #2 is due at the end of Week 10
    Week 11 LectureWeek 11 Seminar
    Topic 6: Nuisance Topic 5: Defamation
    Week 12 LectureWeek 12 Seminar
    Revision Topic 6: Nuisance
    Week 13 LectureWeek 13 Seminar
    No Lecture No Seminar 


    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
    End of Week 6
    20% or 0% Yes (provided a bona fide effort is achieved, evidenced by a grade of at least 40%) 1500 words 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Written Assignment #2 Individual End of Week 10 20% No 1500 words 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Final Exam Individual Exam period 60% or 80% No 120 minutes with 10 minutes reading time 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    All three components of assessment are compulsory. Assignment #2 and the Final Exam are not redeemable.

    Assignment #1 can be redeemed by the final exam if the student achieves a grade of at least 40% on the assignment or demonstrates a bona fide effort as assessed by the course coordinator. If these requirements are 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 these requirements are not met (i.e. the student does not hand in the assignment or earns a grade lower than 40% without demonstrating a bona fide effort), the assignment cannot be redeemed and the grade awarded will count toward the student's final mark in the course.
    Assessment Detail
    ASSIGNMENT #1
    20% (or 0% if requirements for redeemability are met)

    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 cover Topic 2: Intentional Torts to the Person.  

    A strict limit of 1500 words will be enforced

    DUE: The end of Week 6


    ASSIGNMENT #2
    20%
     (Not Redeemable) 

    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 cover Topic 3: Negligence. 

    A strict limit of 1500 words will be enforced

    DUE DATE: The end of Week 10


    FINAL EXAM
    60% (or 80% if Assignment #1 is redeemed)


    The exam is 120 minutes in length with 10 minutes reading time. It will be held in the University Examination Period.
    Submission

    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.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    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.

    Turnaround time: The interim assignments for this course will be returned to students within 2 – 4 weeks of the submission date. Individual feedback will be provided, from which students can learn from in the final assignment.

    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 essay 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, 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.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    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).

    Moderation
    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.

    Students are expected to demonstrate:
    1. ability to identify the ratio decidendi of relevant cases and apply this to the facts of novel tortious issues
    2. ability to work with the relevant statutory schemes that relevant to the facts of novel tortious issues
    3. ability to distinguish one case from another in the context of applying case law to the facts of novel tortious issues
    4. ability to identify the relevant factual issues involved in novel tortious scenarios
    5. legal problem solving skills
    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.
  • 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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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 Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (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 honesty 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.