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Torts and Rights$
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Robert Stevens

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211609.001.0001

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(p.284) 13 Classification
Torts and Rights

Robert Stevens

Oxford University Press

In order to understand and justify the law of torts it is necessary to understand its place on the map of private law. The law of torts is not a free-standing subject. Torts belong in the same sequence as breach of contract and equitable wrongs. Torts is a catch all category of ‘other wrongs’. The law of torts has no free-standing existence independent of the primary rights, such as property rights, upon which it depends. Within the law of torts the picture is one of chaos. Torts are classified according to context (e.g., occupiers, products), degree of fault (e.g., negligence) and right infringed (e.g., defamation). The economic torts have no inherent unity. No subject can be understood in the way presented in the standard texts. Classification according to primary right is to be preferred, and the so-called ‘tort of negligence’ should be abandoned.

Keywords:   breach of contract, equitable wrongs, tort of negligence, economic torts

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