1. General Principles of Liability
There are two theories with regard to the basic principle of liability in the law of torts or tort. They are:
- Wider and narrower theory
- Pigeon-hole theory
Our discussions will be on the Wider and Narrower Theory of torts. This theory was propounded by Professor Winfield. It holds that all injuries done by one person to another are torts, unless there is some justification recognized by law. The underlying principle here is that all unjustifiable harms are torts. It may be assault, battery, deceit, slander, negligence, or, it may not even have a name at all. This enables the courts to create new torts and make defendants liable irrespective of any defect in the pleading of the plaintiff. In Jai Laxmi Salt Works (P) Ltd. v. State of Gujarat, (1994) 4 SCC 1, Justice Sahai., observed, “Truly speaking the entire law of torts is founded and structured on morality. Therefore, it would be primitive to close strictly or close finally the ever expanding and growing horizon of tortuous liability. Even for social development, orderly growth of the society and cultural refineness, the liberal approach to tortious liability by court would be conducive.
This theory is supported by Sir Frederick Pollock and courts have repeatedly extended the domain of the law of torts. For example, negligence became a new specific tort only by the 19th century AD. Similarly the rule of strict liability for the escape of noxious things from one’s premises was laid down in 1868 in the leading case if Rylands v. Fletcher. In Chapman v. Picker S. Gill (1762) 2 Wills 145(146) it was remarked by Pratt C.J, that Torts are infinitely various, not limited or confined. In Skinner & Co. v. Shew & Co (1893) 1 CH 413 (422), it was remarked by Bowen L.J, that at common Law there was a cause of action whenever one person did damage to another willfully and intentionally without just cause or excuse.
This theory can be said to be a development of the maxim Ubi Jus Ibi Remendium, which means that there is no wrong without a remedy.
PRACTICE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1 The Wider and Narrower Theory was propounded by__________?
- Sir Frederick Pollock
- Professor Winfield
- Sir Salmond
2 The Wider underlining principle in the Wider and narrower theory of tort, is that all unjustifiable harms are torts.
3 Under the wider and narrower theory can a person institute an action for a wrong that doesn’t fall under any known Tort?
4 Torts are infinitely various, not limited or confined . This remark was made by _________?
- Pratt C.J in Chapman v. Picker S. Gill (1762) 2 Wills 145(146)
- Bowen L.J in In Skinner & Co. v. Shew & Co (1893) 1 CH 413 (422)
- Pratt C.J in In Skinner & Co. v. Shew & Co (1893) 1 CH 413 (422)
5 Ubi jus ibi remendium means that there is no wrong without a remedy
- B, 2. A, 3. A, 4. A, 5. A
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