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Курсовая Ответственность из деликта в общем праве на английском языке


Тип работы: Курсовая. Добавлен: 02.07.2012. Страниц: 40. Уникальность по antiplagiat.ru: < 30%

Описание (план):


Introduction 2
1.Constitutive theory of tort liability 4
2.Grounds of tort liability 9
3.Process of specification 26
Conclusions 39
Literature 40


The liabilities incurred by way of contract are more or less expressly fixed by the agreement of the parties concerned, but those arising from a tort are independent of any previous consent of the wrong-doer to bear the loss occasioned by his act. If A fails to pay a certain sum on a certain day, or to deliver a lecture on a certain night, after having made a binding promise to do so, the damages which he has to pay are recovered in accordance with his consent that some or all of the harms which may be caused by his failure shall fall upon him. But when A assaults or slanders his neighbor, or converts his neighbors property, he does a harm which he has never consented to bear, and if the law makes him pay for it, the reason for doing so must be found in some general view of the conduct which every one may fairly expect and demand from every other, whether that other has agreed to it or not.
Such a general view is very hard to find. The law did not begin with a theory. It has never worked one out. The point from which it started and that at which I shall try to show that it has arrived, are on different planes. In the progress from one to the other, it is to be expected that its course should not be straight and its direction not always visible. All that can be done is to point out a tendency, and to justify it. The tendency, which is our main concern, is a matter of fact to be gathered from the cases. But the difficulty of showing it is much enhanced by the circumstance that, until lately, the substantive law has been approached only through the categories of the forms of action. Discussions of legislative principle have been darkened by arguments on the limits between trespass and case, or on the scope of a general issue. In place of a theory of tort, we have a theory of trespass. And even within that narrower limit, precedents of the time of the assize and jurata have been applied without a thought of their connection with a long forgotten procedure. All these
The object of the term paper is examination of the conception of tort liability in the Common Law.
Research task:
• To study of constitutive theory of tort liability
• To examine of the grounds of tort liability
• To analyze of the process of specification

1. Constitutive theory of tort liability

There are two theories of the common-law liability for unintentional harm. Both of them seem to receive the implied assent of popular textbooks, and neither of them is wanting in plausibility and the semblance of authority.
The first is that of Austin. According to him, the characteristic feature of law, properly so called, is a sanction or detriment threatened and imposed by the sovereign for disobedience to the sovereigns commands. As the greater part of the law only makes a man civilly answerable for breaking it, Austin is compelled to regard the liability to an action as a sanction, or, in other words, as a penalty for disobedience. It follows from this, according to the prevailing views of penal law, that such liability ought only to be based upon personal fault; and Austin accepts that conclusion, with its corollaries, one of which is that negligence means a state of the partys mind. These doctrines will be referred to later, so far as necessary.
The other theory is directly opposed to the foregoing. It seems to be adopted by some of the greatest common law authorities, and requires serious discussion before it can be set aside in favor of any third opinion which may be maintained. According to this view, broadly stated, under the common law a man acts at his peril. It may be held as a sort of set-off, that he is never liable for omissions except in consequence of some duty voluntarily undertaken. But the whole and sufficient ground for such liabilities as he does incur outside the last class is supposed to be that he has voluntarily acted, and that damage has ensued. If the act was voluntary, it is totally immaterial that the detriment which followed from it was neither intended nor due to the negligence of the actor.
In order to do justice to this way of looking at the subject, we must remember that the abolition of the common-law forms of pleading has not changed the rules of substantive law. Hence, although pleaders now generally allege intent or negligence, anything which would formerly have been sufficient to charge a defendant in trespass is still sufficient, notwithstanding the fact that the ancient form of action and declaration has disappeared.
In the first place, it is said, consider generally the protection given by the law to property, both within and outside the limits of the last-named action. If a man crosses his neighbors boundary by however innocent a mistake, or if his cattle escape into his neighbors field, he is said to be liable in trespass quare clausum fregit. If an auctioneer in the most perfect good faith, and in the regular course of his business, sells goods sent to his rooms for the purpose of being sold, he may be compelled to pay their full value if a third person turns out to be the owner, although he has paid over the proceeds, and has no means of obtaining indemnity .
Now suppose that, instead of a dealing with the plaintiffs property, the case is that force has proceeded directly from the defendants body to the plaintiffs body, it is urged that, as the law cannot be less careful of the persons than of the property of its subjects, the only defences possible are similar to those which would have been open to an alleged trespass on land. You may show that there was no trespass by showing that the defendant did no act; as where he was thrown from his horse upon the plaintiff, or where a third person took his hand and struck the plaintiff with it. In such cases the defendants body is file passive instrument of an external force, and the bodily motion relied on by the plaintiff is not his act at all. So you may show a justification or excuse in the conduct of the plaintiff himself. But if no such excuse is shown, and the defendant has voluntarily acted, he must answer for the consequences, however little intended and however unforeseen. If, for instance,
being assaulted by a third person, the defendant lifted his stick and accidentally hit the plaintiff, who was standing behind him, according to this view he is liable, irrespective of any negligence toward the party injured.
The arguments for the doctrine under consideration are, for the most part, drawn from precedent, but it is sometimes supposed to be defensible as theoretically sound. Every man, it is said, has an absolute right to his person, and so forth, free from detriment at the hands of his neighbors. In the cases put, the plaintiff has done nothing; the defendant, on the other hand, has chosen to act. As between the two, the party whose voluntary conduct has caused the damage should suffer, rather than one who has had no share in producing it .
Some middle point must be found between the horns of this dilemma.
The standards of the law are standards of general application. The law takes no account of the infinite varieties of temperament, intellect, and education which make the internal character of a given act so different in different men. It does not attempt to see men as God sees them, for more than one sufficient reason. In the first place, the impossibility of nicely measuring a mans powers and limitations is far clearer than that of ascertaining his knowledge of law, which has been thought to account for what is called the presumption that every man knows the law. But a more satisfactory explanation is, that, when men live in society, a certain average of conduct, a sacrifice of individual peculiarities going beyond a certain point, is necessary to the general welfare. If, for instance, a man is born hasty and awkward, is always having accidents and hurting himself or his neighbors, no doubt his congenital defects will be allowed for in the courts of Heaven, but his slips are no less troublesome to his neighbors than if they sprang from guilty neglect. His neighbors accordingly require him, at his proper peril, to come up to their standard, and the courts which they establish decline to take his personal equation into account .
The rule that the law does, in general, determine liability by blameworthiness, is subject to the limitation that minute differences of character are not allowed for. The law considers, in other words, what would be blameworthy in the average man, the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence, and determines liability by that. If we fall below the level in those gifts, it is our misfortune; so much as that we must have at our peril, for the reasons just given. But he who is intelligent and prudent does not act at his peril, in theory of law. On the contrary, it is only when he fails to exercise the foresight of which he is capable, or exercises it with evil intent, that he is answerable for the consequences .
There are exceptions to the principle that every man is presumed to possess ordinary capacity to avoid harm to his neighbors, which illustrate the rule, and also the moral basis of liability in general. When a man has a distinct defect of such a nature that all can recognize it as making certain precautions impossible, he will not be held answerable for not taking them. A blind man is not required to see at his peril; and although he is, no doubt, bound to consider his infirmity in regulating his actions, yet if he properly finds himself in a certain situation, the neglect of precautions requiring eyesight would not prevent his recovering for an injury to himself, and, it may be presumed, would not make him liable for injuring another. So it is held that, in cases where he is the plaintiff, an infant of very tender years is only bound to take the precautions of which an infant is capable; the same principle may be cautiously applied where he is defendant. Insanity is a more difficult matter to deal with, and no general rule can be laid down about it. There is no doubt that in many cases a man may be insane, and yet perfectly capable of taking the precautions, and of being influenced by the motives, which the circumstances demand. But if insanity of a pronounced type exists, manifestly incapacitating the sufferer from complying with the rule which he has broken, good sense would require it to be admitted as an excuse .
Taking the qualification last established in connection with the general proposition previously laid down, it will now be assumed that, on the one hand, the law presumes or requires a man to possess ordinary capacity to avoid harming his neighbors, unless a clear and manifest incapacity be shown; but that, on the other, it does not in general hold him liable for unintentional injury, unless, possessing such capacity, he might and ought to have foreseen the danger, or, in other words, unless a man of ordinary intelligence and forethought would have been to blame for acting as he did. The next question is, whether this vague test is all that the law has to say upon the matter, and the same question in another form, by whom this test is to be applied .
Notwithstanding the fact that the grounds of legal liability are moral to the extent above explained, it must be borne in mind that law only works within the sphere of the senses. If the external phenomena, the manifest acts and omissions, are such as it requires, it is wholly indifferent to the internal phenomena of conscience. A man may have as bad a heart as he chooses, if his conduct is within the rules. In other words, the standards of the law are external standards, and, however much it may take moral considerations into account, it does so only for the purpose of drawing a line between such bodily motions and rests as it permits, and such as it does not. What the law really forbids, and the only thing it forbids, is the act on the wrong side of the line, be that act blameworthy or otherwise .
Again, any legal standard must, in theory, be one which would apply to all men, not specially excepted, under the same circumstances. It is not intended that the public force should fall upon an individual accidentally, or at the whim of any body of men. The standard, that is, must be fixed. In practice, no doubt, one man may have to pay and another may escape, according to the different feelings of different juries. But this merely shows that the law does not perfectly accomplish its ends. The theory or intention of the law is not that the feeling of approbation or blame which a particular twelve may entertain should be the criterion. They are supposed to leave their idiosyncrasies on one side, and to represent the feeling of the community. The ideal average prudent man, whose equivalent the jury is taken to be in many cases, and whose culpability or innocence is the supposed test, is a constant, and his conduct under given circumstances is theoretically always the same.

2. Grounds of tort liability

We have more difficult matter to deal with grounds of tort liability. I will begin with an early and important case. It was trespass quare clausum. The defendant pleaded that he owned adjoining land, upon which was a thorn hedge; that he cut the thorns, and that they, against his will (ipso invito), fell on the plaintiffs land, and the defendant went quickly upon the same, and took them, which was the trespass complained of. And on demurrer judgment was given for the plaintiff. The plaintiffs counsel put cases which have been often repeated. One of them, Fairfax, said: "There is a diversity between an act resulting in a felony, and one resulting in a trespass .... If one is cutting trees, and the boughs fall on a man and wound him, in this case he shall have an action of trespass, &c., and also, sir, if one is shooting at butts, and his bow shakes in his hands, and kills a man, ipso invito, it is no felony, as has been said, &c.; but if he wounds one by shooting, he shall have a good action of trespass against him, and yet the shooting was lawful, &c., and the wrong which the other receives was against his will, &c.; and so here, &c. "
Brian, another counsel, states the whole doctrine, and uses equally familiar illustrations. "When one does a thing, he is bound to do it in such a way that by his act no prejudice or damage shall be done to &c. As if I am building a house, and when the timber is being put up a piece of timber falls on my neighbors house and breaks his house, he shall have a good action, &c.; and yet the raising of the house was lawful, and the timber fell, me invito, &c. And so if one assaults me and I cannot escape, and I in self-defence lift my stick to strike him, and in lifting it hit a man who is behind me, in this case he shall have an action against me, yet my raising my stick was lawful in self-defence, and I hit him, me invito, &c.; and so here, &C."
"Littleton, J. to the same intent, and if a man is damaged he ought to be recompensed .... If your cattle come on my land and eat my grass, notwithstanding you come freshly and drive them out, you ought to make amends for what your cattle have done, be it more or less .... And, sir, if this should be law that he might enter and take the thorns, for the same reason, if he cut a large tree, he might come with his wagons and horses to carry the trees off, which is not reason, for perhaps he has corn or other crops growing, &c., and no more here, for the law is all one in great things and small .... Choke, C. J. to the same intent, for when the principal thing was not lawful, that which depends upon it was not lawful; for when he cut the thorns and they fell on my land, this falling was not lawful, and therefore his coming to take them out was not lawful. As to what was said about their falling in ipso invito, that is no plea, but he ought to show that he could not do it in any other way, or that he did all that was in his power to keep them out."
Forty years later, the Year Books report Rede, J. as adopting the argument of Fairfax in the last case. In trespass, he says, "the intent cannot be construed; but in felony it shall be. As when a man shoots at butts and kills a man, it is not felony evil ser come navoit lentent de luy tuer; and so of a tiler on a house who with a stone kills a man unwittingly, it is not felony. But when a man shoots at the butts and wounds a man, though it is against his will, he shall be called a trespasser against his intent."
There is a series of later shooting cases, Weaver v. Ward, Dickenson v. Watson, and Underwood v. ...

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