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First of all, there is no one exact definition of what is law, particularly as it is used in many different
ways. However, it is a system of rules a society sets to maintain order and protect harm to persons and
property. The rules are established by a governing authority to institute and maintain orderly
coexistence. In other words it is the body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a society.
Human being resorts to various kinds of rules to guide their life. Different people perceive law
The law serves many purposes and functions in society. Some of them are to establish the standards,
maintaining order, and resolving disputes and maintaining the peace of community. Maintaining of
order is necessary in a civil society and is therefore reflected in the law as the law provides order
consistent with societys guidelines. Next, disputes are unavoidable in a society made of persons with
different needs, wants, values, and views, so that the law is made for resolving the disputes by having
the court system. There is a federal court system and each state has its own separate court system.
The law plays many functions such as peacekeeping; checking government power and promoting
personal freedom; facilitating planning and the realization of reasonable expectations; promoting
economic growth through free competition; promoting social justice; and protecting the environment
(Mallor, 2007)
However, the functions of law specifically are depending upon the types of law. The divisions of the law
are Civil Law, Criminal Law, Public Law, Private Law, Municipal Law, International Law Substantive Law
and Procedural Law.
A tort is a civil wrong, which is a wrong committed against an individual which unlike a crime which is
a wrong committed against the state. For example; trespass over someones property is a civil wrong,
not a criminal. Other definitions of tort are from;

Damnum sine injuria' : DAMNUM (damage suffered )SINE (without), INJURIA ( injury in the
violation of legal right). Therefore the phrase damnum sine injuria means damage suffered
without violation of the legal right.
UBI JUS IBI REMEDIUM : There should be remedy for every legal rights. Therefore, every loss
suffered should be compensated. However, there shouldnt be any unjust enrichements.
Lord Steyn in McFarlane v Tayside Health Board[2000] 2 AC 59 ( at p83 para 24-15): " The truth
is that tort law is a mosaic in which the principles of corrective justice and distributive justice are
interwoven. And in situations of uncertainty and difficulty a choice sometimes has to be made
between the two approaches."

In French, a tort simply means a wrong.

Liability in tort comes from either a breach of a duty owed by members of society towards each other.
For example; all road users owe other road users a duty of care or the infringement of a right of another
person. For example; Everyone has the right to privacy and therefore, a newspaper may be liable if it
publishes something of a sensitive/private nature.
The objective of law of tort is to ensure those who suffer wrongs/harm can be compensated and future
incidents can be prevented through civil remedies. The law of tort therefore, protects the rights &
freedoms of individuals, their property and reputation.
The law of torts is concerned with the redress of wrongs or injuries by means of a civil action brought by
the victim. (Rogers)
The differences between crimes and torts;


A wrong against the state

A wrong against an individual

Case will usually be started by the state

Case will be started by the individual affected (the


Defendant will be prosecuted in the criminal courts

The defendant faces criminal charges

Defendant will be sued in the civil courts

A civil action will be brought against the defendant

If guilty the defendant will be prosecuted/punished

If liable the defendant will have to pay

damages/compensation to the claimant

Main purpose of the criminal law is to maintain law &

order and to protect the public

The main purpose of the law of torts is to provide the

individual who has a suffered from an infringement
of a right/duty, with a remedy to enforce their rights

Branch of the public law (criminal law)

Branch of the private (civil) law

Law of torts largely developed through common
law/case law

Standard of proof- beyond reasonable doubt

Burden of proof- rests with the prosecution

Standard of proof- balance of probabilities

Burden of proof-rests on the claimant

There are different types of torts and each tort sets out a certain expected standard of behavior which
are The Tort of Negligence, The Tort of Defamation, The Tort of Trespass (both against the person and
property) and The Tort of Nuisance.
We will be looking at the following torts on the elements that will be discussed, the effects of the torts
on the person, property, financial and reputation.