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Cases on Torts

Cases on Torts

5th edition

By Barbara McDonald and Ross Anderson


Completely revised, and updated to take into account significant developments in Australian tort law, the fifth edition of this established casebook illuminates the principles of contemporary tort law in its historical context.

This casebook provides students with experience in reading and comprehending primary sources of law. To guide the student, each case extract is preceded by a note that summarises the essential principles for which the extracted case is authority or identifies the key issue which the case addresses. Nearly thirty 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.

In addition, a number of chapters have been reorganised to reflect current trends and issues in the development of the law.

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


Historical Background

Trespass and Case
Fault in Trespass

Interference with the Person

False Imprisonment
Intentional Infliction of Psychiatric Injury

Interference with Land

Private Nuisance
A Tort of Invasion of Privacy?

Interference with Goods

Trespass and Conversion
Possession and Finding
Owner's Reversionary Interest

Negligence: Duty of Care

General Principles
Policy-Based Exclusions
Products and Premises
Psychiatric Injury
Pre-Natal Injuries, Wrongful Birth and Wrongful Life
Supervision and Control
Public Authorities
Pure Economic Loss

Negligence: Breach of Duty

Standard of Care
Proof of Negligence
Role of Judge and Jury

Causation and Remoteness of Damage

Loss of Chance or Opportunity
New Act Intervening

Death or Injury to a Third Party

Fatal Accidents
Loss of Services

Breach of Statutory Duty

Legislative Intention
Kind of Damage

Public Nuisance

Title to Sue
Highway and Waterway Obstruction


Volenti Non Fit Injuria
Contributory Negligence
Plaintiff's Unlawful Conduct

Concurrent Liability

Vicarious liability
Non-Delegable Duties
Multiple Tortfeasors


Compensatory Damages for Personal Injuries
Fatal Accidents
Compensatory Damages for Property Damage
Damages for Interference with Goods
Aggravated and Exemplary Damages

Tables of Cases/ Tables of Statutes


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

Reviews of previous editions:

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


Barclay v Penberthy

Review_InPrint LIJ, March 2013


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Published 25 July 2012
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862878853
Australian RRP $95.00
International Price $90.00
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Law - Torts

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