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Cases on Torts

Cases on Torts

6th edition

By Barbara McDonald, Ross Anderson and David Rolph


The sixth edition of Cases on Torts has been updated to take into account significant developments in Australian tort law in recent years. This established casebook is a valuable resource of the principles of contemporary tort law in its historical context. It is intended to provide students with a resource to develop the essential legal skills of reading and comprehending primary sources of law, rather than always relying on secondary commentary or summaries. To guide the student, each case extract is preceded by a short note setting out the essential principle for which the case is authority and/or asking the student to consider a key issue which the case addresses or leaves undecided.

Many new extracts have been included in this edition, comprising significant new cases and new comments, as well as some classic and foundational English and American torts cases with which every torts lawyer should be familiar.

The currency of the book will be maintained by the publication of edited extracts of important new cases on The Federation Press website. The extracts will be accompanied by brief editorial comment and all may be freely downloaded.


Preface to the Sixth Edition
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

1. Historical Background

1. Trespass and case
2. Fault in trespass

2. Interference with the Person

1. Battery
2. Assault
3. False imprisonment
4. Intentional infliction of psychiatric injury
5. Aggravated and exemplary damages

3. Interference with Land

1. Trespass
2. Private nuisance
3. Tort of invasion of privacy?

4. Interference with Goods

1. Trespass and conversion
2. Possession and finding
3. Owner’s reversionary interest
4. Damages for interference with goods

5. Negligence: Duty of Care

1. General principles
2. Policy-based exclusions
3. Premises
4. Rescuers
5. Psychiatric injury
6. Pre-natal injuries, wrongful birth and wrongful life
7. Supervision and control
8. Pure economic loss from negligent statements or professional work
9. Pure economic loss from damage or injury to third parties
10. Pure economic loss from defective products or building work

6. Negligence: Breach of Duty

1. Determining breach of duty: balancing considerations
2. Proof of negligence
3. Role of judge and jury

7. Negligence: Causation and Scope of Liability

1. Causation
2. Loss of chance or opportunity
3. Liability for subsequent events
4. Remoteness and scope of liability

8. Breach of Statutory Duty

1. Legislative intention
2. Causation
3. Kind of damage

9. Public Nuisance

1. Title to sue
2. Highway and waterway obstruction

10. Defences

1. Consent
2. Volenti non fit injuria
3. Contributory negligence
4. Plaintiff’s unlawful conduct
5. Necessity

11. Concurrent Liability

1. Vicarious liability
2. Agency
3. Non-delegable duties
4. Multiple tortfeasors

12. Damages for Personal Injuries

1. Compensatory damages for personal injuries
2. Fatal accidents

13. Death or Injury to a Third Party

1. Fatal accidents
2. Loss of services


Reviews of previous editions:

In the words of the authors, this book, now in its fifth edition, “provides a collection of cases illuminating the principles of Australian tort law”. The primary audience of the book is the law student.

The book achieves a number of the authors’ aims. ... The law student will find this book an excellent introduction to tort law, a useful supplement to their understanding and research of the area, and a helpful tool in preparing for examinations. Read full review...

David Kim, Barrister, InPrint LIJ, March 2013

Casebooks have changed over the years. This one, though 480 pages long, is compact and relatively light to carry. It is a far cry from the house bricks that students of old had to lug about. It is a typical example of the Federation Press style: a durable, well-produced paperback, well suited to the student market.

...this is good one of its kind. It extracts 134 cases, mostly Australian, but with a sprinkling of landmark cases from other jurisdictions...its usefulness depends on the grouping of the cases, and this reflects the scholarship of the compilers. The valuable parts are the grouping of the cases, the brief case notes, and the tables of cases and statutes. These parts would also be of considerable value beyond the student market.

Australian Law Librarian, Vol 16 No 2, 2008

There are two apparently contradictory aphorisms which this book brings to mind. The first is that you are never too old to learn. The second is, that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Happily this book pointed me towards the first of the two and, I hope, demonstrated the incorrectness of the second.
          … the authors have very cleverly and succinctly drawn together the leading decisions
          … The extracts from the cases contain no more than the material necessary to understand the point being made, but the accompanying brief editorial comments and headnotes tie the threads together in such a way as to enhance the reader’s understanding.
          … Do not make the mistake of thinking that this is another text for students. It isn’t. Rather, it is a very useful tool in the armoury of anyone practicing in torts law. It will help improve our understanding of that law, enable us to more readily appreciate where it is heading and, importantly, explains why it is going there.

Law Society of Tasmania online newsletter, April 2007

The great strength of this casebook is its emphasis on modern Australian authorities. Since the second edition, 62 cases have been substituted with 41 cases … The law is always full of stories, some mundane, some macabre, some which almost defy belief. The cases selected by the editors of this book not only illustrate the principles of tort, but do so in some extraordinary and controversial circumstances.

Law Institute Journal (Vic), February 2003

A comprehensive collection highlighting the founding principles of Australian tort law … Cases are set out with clear reference to the nature and outcome of specific civil claims, while the publisher’s website makes provision for edited versions of most recent cases. The format with which cases are presented and explained makes this an ideal reference for Preliminary Legal Studies Part 1: The legal system sources of law and The operation of the legal system.

SCAN (Curriculum K-12 Directorate), February 2004


Book Updates

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Published 20 July 2017
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781760021412
Australian RRP $115.00
International Price $104.55
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Law - Torts

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