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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.173) 8 Privity
Torts and Rights

Robert Stevens

Oxford University Press

The only person who can enforce a right is the right-holder, and persons who suffer loss because of the infringement of someone else's right do not have standing to sue. So, if a parent is negligently injured — her child has no standing; a husband has no claim for loss suffered as a result of the defamation of his wife; and if a nuisance disturbs the quiet enjoyment of land, only someone with a property right in the land which is infringed may claim. This chapter considers in detail the exceptions to this fundamental principle, and considers whether they can be justified. Fatal accidents, disappointed legatees, latent damage, congenital disabilities, public nuisance, and causing loss by unlawful means are each considered in detail. Further, damages are awarded solely to compensate for loss suffered by the claimant, not by third parties. How collateral benefits should be dealt with, and the interaction between the law of torts and principles of unjust enrichment, are then revealed.

Keywords:   privity, fatal accidents, disappointed legatees, latent damage, congenital disabilities, public nuisance, collateral benefits, unjust enrichment

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