Chapter 1 Outline answers to essay questions

Tort and the tort system: general overview

Consider the extent to which alternative systems of compensation are preferable to the tort system.

Outline the weaknesses of the tort system, citing expense, slowness, complication, and uncertainty. Provide details to support these assertions, e.g. the Woolf Report figure that for small claims it costs £1.35 to recover £1. Access to justice is increasingly limited but is addressed in part by conditional fee agreements.

The alternative means of compensation are:

-state benefit;

-no fault compensation;

-first party insurance;


-Motor Insurers’ Bureau;

-Criminal Injuries Compensation; and

-single issue or ex gratia payment

Consider the extent to which these alternatives are preferable and are practical alternatives to tort. For instance, none of them require access to the legal system and are therefore cheaper to obtain. But no fault compensation has been adopted in only a small number of situations in the UK; this could be compared to New Zealand.

Strong answers will conclude either with an endorsement of the tort system as it is; or recommend informed modifications to the tort system; or propose one or a combination of the alternatives as preferable.