Towards a Public Law of Tort  book cover
1st Edition

Towards a Public Law of Tort

ISBN 9781138262461
Published October 19, 2016 by Routledge
278 Pages

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Book Description

Presenting a new approach to the problem of public authority liability, this volume provides a theoretical foundation in the form of principles of administrative liability that are both normatively sound and consonant with other recognized legal principles. These principles are used as criteria by which to judge the current law and as a guide to reform. Such reform could be brought about by judicial development of the law, and this volume explains how. It considers both the procedural and the substantive divides between public and private law and explains the proposed solution's relation to the forms of public authority liability already present under European Community law and the Human Rights Act. Focusing in particular on UK law, the book is also relevant to other Commonwealth countries and will be of interest to scholars and practitioners of both tort and public law.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part 1 Theoretical Foundations: Introduction; Dicey's equality principle and the state; Principle I; Cohen and Smith's theory of entitlement; Principle II; The reach of public law; The distinctiveness of public law; The nature of public law duties elaborated. Part 2 Implementation: Implementing principle II; Principle I and the stable and volatile parts of tort law; Principle I and the case law on negligence; Implementing the public approach to negligence; Outstanding issues; Bibliography; Index.

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Tom Cornford is a Lecturer in the Department of Law at the University of Essex, UK.


'Dicey would not have written this book. Nor would many others; criticising Dicey has a long and honourable history. But this book is remarkable for taking a key Diceyan concept and reversing it utterly. It is provocative, thoughtful, well-researched and well-argued. In the end, it failed to persuade, but that might be because this reviewer is no grand theorist. Cornford may not have converted this reviewer to his novel paradigm, but nevertheless many of his critiques are persuasive, while others are unsettling. It is a work of true scholarship that should be read.' Mark Aronson, University of New South Wales, Australia 'The extent to which public authorities should be held liable in tort, or otherwise required to pay compensation, to people who suffer harm as a result of their acts and omissions has attracted a spectrum of views from commentators...Tom Cornford's book makes an original contribution to the debate...Overall, the book provides a measured case for the expansion of the tort liability of public authorities, with safeguards to ensure that the exercise of public functions would not be stultified. It makes a distinctive and valuable contribution to the literature, much of which is against such developments, although a number of the detailed arguments are contestable. It is particularly helpful in providing a detailed analysis of how a "public approach" would work in different kinds of situations.' Public Law '...the author’s explained clearly and cogently, and the book as a whole can be enthusiastically recommended.' Yearbook of European Tort Law 'There is a lot to be said for books that spell out a bold vision and support it with impressive research and cogent argument. In Towards a Public Law of Tort, Tom Cornford has written a book which does just that and the scope of his achievement is such that it should be essential reading for public lawyers and tort lawyers alike...Tom Cornford's thoughtful treatment of this subject amounts to a