Chapter 4 Pointers to 'pause for reflection' and 'counterpoint' boxes

Special duty problems: omissions and acts of third parties

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This question – and question 1 of the end of chapter questions in chapter 3 – is designed to get you thinking about the purposes of tort law and the extent to which the elements of the tort of negligence act as control mechanisms. Think again about the purposes of tort law (section 1.3) – whether you think that the courts are paying too little attention in such cases will largely depend on what you think tort law is for. You should also consider whether it is important which control mechanism controls liability – why is duty being used in these cases (see chapters 4-7) rather than, say, breach or cause? Read again the discussion of what Nicolas McBride terms the 'idealist' and 'cynical' views of the tort of negligence in the pause for reflection box in section 3.1.

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