Winfield's Case: The Law Of Tort

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INTRODUCTION In common sense the Law of Torts is that branch of law which aims at regulating the manner in which people behave in civil society. The law of tort covers a wide range of situations, including such diverse claims as those of a passenger injured in a road accident, a patient injured by a negligent doctor, a pop star libeled by a newspaper, a citizen wrongfully arrested by the police, and a landowner whose land has been trespassed on. As a result, it is difficult to pin down a definition of a tort; but, in broad terms, a tort occurs where there is breach of a general duty fixed by civil law. When a tort is committed, the law allows the victim to claim money, known as damages, to compensate for the commission of the tort. This is…show more content…
Frazer: It is an infringement of a right in rem of a private individual giving a right to compensation at the suit of the injured party. Now going by Winfield’s definition, we can gather that his conception of a tort in not merely as a wrongful act, but rather viewing the law of tort as a general standard that would set out the rights and duties of an individual. Standing forth with his definition, anytime one violates the legal right of another person through the commission or omission of an act, he commits a tort. Hence instead of defining what a “tort” is, Winfield describes a general guideline on establishing tortious liability. Salmond standing opposed to Winfield opines that there is no “law of tort” (meaning no specific principle of establishing tortious liability) but merely “law of torts”. What he meant to say is that the law of torts consists of a number of specific rules prohibiting certain well-defined harmful acts prohibited by Common Law. This means that there is a certain list of commissions and omissions of acts which under specific situations are actionable in a court of law. Hence according to Salmond, people are only allowed to file a case against that specific act or omission which comes within one of these recognized categories. Like law recognizes specific acts like theft, forgery, dacoity, murder, rape and etc. as crimes and only when the facts of a case fit the criteria of any of these heads, only then is it treated as a criminal case, this theory…show more content…
When the defendant’s wrong does not fit in any of these pigeon holes he is said to have committed no tort. Hence this theory of Salmond is also known as pigeon hole theory. However the theory of pigeon hole has been criticized by the latter writers as they feel this theory, if accepted, will put an end to the growth and evolution of the new categories of liability in tort and the Courts could be prevented from identifying any new torts based on the violation of the legal rights of a person. Torts are infinitely various and not limited and confined. The novelty of claim may arise and Court may recognize a novel claim. Salmond’s critics believe tort law is a system based on the principle of protecting the legal rights vested in a person and the society (“right in rem” and right in persona” ) and the courts as the guardian of law have to be allowed the flexibility to interpret the

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