LAW 1507 - Tort Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

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
    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: Professor Melissa de Zwart

    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.  There is a detailed teaching outline available on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    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 (intentional torts to the person and to goods, nuisance and negligent statements leading to pure economic loss).
    • Damages

    General Introduction

    There is no comprehensive or exhaustive definition of ‘torts’.  Any definition that attempts to cover everything that amounts to a tort is likely to also cover things not usually treated as torts at all. Commentators, teachers and judges in this area nonetheless provide good working definitions of ‘torts’.  At its broadest, a tort is described as a "wrong" committed by one person (the ‘defendant’) against another person (‘the plaintiff’).  In essence the law of torts provides that the plaintiff  who suffers injury or loss because of that wrong is entitled to a remedy from the defendant.   The remedy is usually in the form of monetary compensation (damages) designed to put the plaintiff in the position they would have been in if the defendant had not committed the wrong. The proper role and place of the law of torts and its relationship with other areas of the law such as crime and contract is conceptually both difficult and controversial.  By the end of this course you will have considered the nature, role and proper place of the law of torts in Australia’s legal landscape along with the relevant principles embodied in both the common law and in statute.

    As indicated by the above working definition, the scope of the law of torts is certainly very wide. It covers cases where one person has caused physical injury to another or damaged their property; where one person has interfered with another's rights over property, for example by taking it, refusing to return it or disposing of it without authority or has interfered with their use of their land; where one person has deprived another of liberty or has harmed another's reputation; and where one person has harmed the economic interests of another. But it is not comprehensive in the interests it protects; for example it does not generally protect privacy or a claim not to be discriminated against. And it determines the behaviour from which the interests it does cover will be protected. For example liability for causing physical injury or damage to property generally depends on the injury or damage being caused intentionally or negligently while liability for causing economic loss depends more often on an intention to cause it in a defined way and is allowed only in very restricted circumstances where it is caused negligently. On the other hand intention to harm or negligence is often not required where the law is protecting your title to property: if I sell your property believing on all reasonable grounds that it is mine and having no way of discovering that it is yours I nevertheless commit the tort of conversion and must compensate you. 

    Knowledge and Understanding

    1. A student who successfully completes this subject will have a general understanding of the law of torts and specific familiarity with the topics outlined  below, and will:
    2. Understand and be able to apply common law and legislative systems pertaining to the tort of negligence, including the elements of that tort—duty of care, standard of care, causation, and remoteness—and the associated issues of third party intervention, damages for personal injury, omissions and nervous shock, and defences and vicarious liability
    3. Understand and be able to apply common law and legislative systems pertaining to the intentional tort of trespass to the person, including assault, battery and false imprisonment
    4. Understand and be able to apply common law and legislative systems pertaining to the intentional tort of trespass to goods, including trespass, conversion and detinue
    5. Understand and be able to apply common law and legislative systems pertaining to nuisance
    6. Understand and be able to apply common law and legislative systems pertaining to negligent statements leading to pure economic loss
    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)
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    1. Printed Materials obtained from the Image and Copy Centre,
    2. Bernadette Richards, Melissa de Zwart and Karinne Ludlow Tort Law Principles (Thomson Lawbook, 2012)
    3. C. Sappideen, P.Vines, P.Watson, Torts: Commentary and Materials (Thomson, Lawbook Co. Casebook, 11th Ed, 2012)
    (The two texts are available as a package from the University Bookshop).
    Recommended Resources
    1. Harold Luntz et al, Torts: Cases and Commentary (LexisNexis Butterworths, 6th ed, 2009)
    2. Carolyn Sappideen & Prue Vines (ed), Fleming's The Law of Torts (Lawbook Co, 10th ed, 2011),
    3. Martin Davies and Ian Malkin, Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 5th ed, 2008),
    4. Francis Trindade, Peter Cane and Mark Lunney, The Law of Torts in Australia (Oxford, 4th ed, 2007),
    5. RP Balkin and JLR Davis, Law of Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 4th ed, 2009),
    6. Frances McGlone and Amanda Stickley, Australian Torts Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed,2009), and
    7. Pam Stewart and Anita Stuhmcke, Australian Principles of Tort Law (Cavendish Australia, 2005).
    Online Learning
    All course materials are available on MyUni and please remember to check your student email as course-related announcements are communicated via email.

    Due to the large enrolment in this subject we are actively encouraging the use of Discussion Boards. Please do not email questions regarding the substantive law to your lecturers or tutors, we will only ask you to post them on the Discussion Board. There is a Discussion Board available for substantive law issues and it will be checked every afternoon. We encourage students to engage in the discussion and actively participate creating an active learning forum.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course is designed around presentation of theory during the lectures and practical problem-solving skills during the seminars. The approach to learning and teaching in this subject is based upon the premise of students as “active” learners and not passive recipients of information. It follows that it is absolutely essential that you do the work that is set for each week and all sessions will be conducted on the assumption that the relevant reading has been completed. You must come to the seminars with prepared written answers to each seminar question
    Workload

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

    The University expects full-time students (ie those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of up to 48 hours per week to their studies. In law, this figure represents the bare minimum necessary to an understanding of the concepts covered. Students in this course are expected to attend all lectures throughout the semester plus one seminar session each week. Please refer to Access Adelaide for your timetable and enrolment details.
    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/access/

    There is an expectation that all allocated reading for the week is completed and that students attend the seminars prepared to actively participate in the problem solving activity.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Students will have 9 weeks of intensive teaching in this subject. The first lecture will be held in Week 3, with seminars commencing in Week 4. Students will be expected to attend a two hour lecture and a two hour seminar. The programme of all activities is as follows:

    Week 3 Lecture Week 3 Seminar
    Intentional Torts to the person
    • Assault
    • Battery
    • False Imprisonment
    No seminars for this subject. See Foundations of Australian Law
    Week 4 Lecture Week 4 Seminar
    Introduction to negligence
    • Duty of care
    • Mental Harm
    • Standard of care
    Intentional Torts to the person
    Week 5 Lecture Week 5 Seminar
    • Finish Standard of Care
    • Omissions
    Finish off Intentional Torts
    Consider how to tackle questions of mixed issues, workshop duty (physical duty complete), then begin mental harm
    Week 6 Lecture  Week 6 Seminar
    No lecture • Mental Harm complete
    • Begin Standard of care
    Redeemable assignment due at the end of Week 6
    Week 7 Lecture Week 7 Seminar
    Causation and remoteness • Assignment feedback
    • Standard of care
    Week 8 Lecture  Week 8 Seminar
    Defences and damages
    Vicarious liability
    Causation and remoteness
    Week 9 Lecture Week 9 Seminar
    Negligent statement leading to pure economic loss Defences and damages
    Distribute ‘Take Home Component of the Exam’. This assignment will be a mix of intentional torts and negligence and intentional torts will NOT be covered in the final exam. This assignment will be due at the end of Week 10, for marking and return at the end of Week 12 for revision purposes.

    This is a component of the exam: No extensions will be granted.
    Week 10 Lecture Week 10 Seminar
    Nuisance Negligent statement leading to pure economic loss
    Online Exam Part A is due Friday in week 10
    Week 11 Lecture  Week 11 Seminar
    Trespass to goods
    • Trespass
    • Conversion
    • Detinue
    Nuisance
    Week 12 Lecture  Week 12 Seminar
    Revision Tespass to goods
    Week 13 Lecture  Week 13 Seminar
    Q&A Lecture
    Feedback of Take-Home component of exam and feedback.
    Revision
  • 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 item % of final mark Dates Length Redeemable   Learning objectives
    Problem question (intentional torts to the person) 20% or 0% Due: 2pm Friday,10th April 2015 (Week 6) 1500 words Yes (provided a bona fide effort is achieved, evidenced by a grade of at least 35%) 1-3
    Online Exam Part A 20% Due: 2pm Friday 22nd May, 2015 (Week 10) 1500 words No 1-3
    Online Exam Part B 80% or 60% Mid- year exam period 1-3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    All three components of assessment are compulsory. This means that if any of the items of assessment are not undertaken/submitted, the marks assigned for that assessment will be irrevocably lost and the final mark obtainable reduced by that.
    Assessment Detail
    Problem question 20% or 0%

    This will involve responding to a problem based question. Only intentional torts to the person will be covered in this problem and it will be redeemable by performance in the final exam provided that it represents a bona fide effort.

    A strict limit of 1500 words will be enforced

    DUE DATE: 2pm Friday 10th April 2015.


    Online Exam Part A 20%


    One examination-style problem question will be distributed to students during Week 9. Every student must complete an answer to the problem for submission at the end of Week 10. The question will be available at 9am, Monday 11th May and is due at 2pm Friday 22nd May. This is an individual piece of assessment and will form the basis of the revision discussion. It is not to be done in collaboration with any other student.

    A strict limit of 1500 words will be enforced

    This is a component of your exam. It is NOT redeemable and no extensions will be granted.

    DUE DATE: 2pm Friday 22nd May 2015. This is an individual piece of assessment and will form the basis of the revision discussion. It is not to be done in collaboration with any other student.

    A strict limit of 1500 words will be enforced

    This is a component of your exam. It is NOT redeemable and no extensions will be granted.


    DUE DATE: 2pm Friday 22nd May 2015



    Online Exam Part B 60% or 80%


    There will be a final examination in the examination period scheduled by the University at the end of the semester. All students will be required to take this examination. You will note that when the exam schedule comes out, there is a two hour exam scheduled for this subject. This schedule simply provides the DATE for the exam. On that nominated day your exam will be made available to you at 9am (on MyUni). You will have 24 hours to complete the exam and submit it via Turnitin. There will be no extensions for this exam, where unforeseen circumstances intervene you will have to apply for a supplementary exam which will be scheduled during the supplementary period. Further information will be made available closer to the time.
    Submission

    All assignments must be submitted electronically via Turnitin. This means that all papers will be electronically checked for plagiarism. 
    All papers are marked and returned electronically in this subject.

    1. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
    2. When an assessment is submitted after the due date, and 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. 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. Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day and will be penalised 5% per day for every day including weekend days and public holidays.


    Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/

  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Further information regarding the Law School Policies and Procedures in relation to Supplementary Assessment, Extensions, and Remarks etc can be found at:

    https://unified.adelaide.edu.au/group/law-school/policies-and-procedures

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School Enrolment Guide 2014, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse 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.

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