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Tort Law

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Referencing

Direct and indirect quotations must be acknowledged by means of a simple in-text reference, in line with what we would expect in a conventional open-book exam. At the minimum, this will name the author of books or articles being quoted (for example “As Smith argues…”); the short title of the case or statute in question should be used when providing support for a point of law (for example, Jones v Brown, or Law of Property Act 1925). Precise references to statutory provisions (for example, “Law of Property Act 1925, s 53(1)(b)” – rather than simply “Law of Property Act”) should be given. Full case citations and full bibliographies are NOT required.

Any direct quotations must be clearly shown as such through the proper use of quotation marks.

Failure to acknowledge sources may be treated as poor practice or as malpractice. If in doubt, students should include a reference.

3 questions  – 12 sources per question

Seatours plc operated a school bus service in a rural seaside area. According to local road safety campaigners, the coastal road was too narrow and winding to safely accommodate the big buses that Seatours used on the route. The company, however, could not afford either to replace the large buses or to cease the profitable service. Moreover, in the absence of any bus service, and without other feasible public transport options, many children would have had difficulties reaching their school.

One winter’s evening, disaster struck. The bus skidded off the road, when Tahoma (a driver employed by Seatours plc) lost control of the vehicle while attempting to negotiate a narrow curve in the road. The bus overturned, and several passengers were trapped, including six-year-old Bessie. Subsequent investigations revealed that Tahoma had only been licensed to drive buses for six weeks.

Nora is an elderly lady who watches the bus go past her property every morning and evening. She always waves to Tahoma and the children, and considers that she has developed a close bond with them. On the evening in question, the accident occurred outside of her property and was witnessed by Nora and her son, Rory, who was visiting her. Rory rushed across the road to help free those who were trapped. While doing this, sharp pieces of debris and rubble were falling all around the scene. Nora, distraught, screamed to Rory to stop and wait for the rescue services, as he is evidently endangered.

 

Nora is extremely upset following the incident. Rory is traumatised by the night’s events, and develops a medically recognised anxiety disorder.

 

Bessie (who had been jumping up and down in her seat when the accident occurred) sustained several fractures in the incident. The seriousness of her injuries was exacerbated by the fact that she suffered from a congenital condition, akin to ‘brittle bone disease’, whereby she was liable to suffer fractures upon minimal pressure and impact.

 

Meanwhile, Tahoma’s wife, Dana, constantly worried about her husband driving following the accident. Her GP, Dr Junky, suggested to Dana that she undergo a ‘relaxation therapy session’, which entailed the administration of a drug, Karma, intravenously. A recent medical journal specialising in psychotherapy (which Dr Junky read) had stated that a clinical trial suggested that Karma could result in numbness and nerve damage when given intravenously, but that such trials put the risk as very, very slight (0.01%). However, Dr Junky did not disclose either risk to Dana, given her nervous presentation. Dana suffered a marked and permanent numbness along her left arm. Doctors are unable to say whether this was, on the balance of probabilities, caused by Karma, or by a latent medical condition which Dana is discovered to have. Nevertheless, Dana says that she would never have agreed to the treatment if she had been warned of the risks associated with the use of Karma as a psychotherapy drug.

 

Advise the injured parties as to their rights in negligence. (Please exclude from consideration any action against the manufacturer of Karma) (max 1500 words).

which contained a cartoon strip (also drawn by Zara) called ‘Politicians Debunked’. Last month, the cartoon featured a politician called Ric Richardson, who had been treated for depression in the past. The cartoon suggested that Ric was a mentally- unstable ‘power freak’, and depicted Ric being restrained in a bed in a mental facility.

Another section of the magazine was devoted to an investigation into allegations of corruption within the Herbville District Council. A public meeting was held, in which the Council was called upon to defend its grant of rezoning to certain large companies in its district who had submitted rezoning applications. Barbara, a journalist employed by Zara, attended the meeting, and asked Paul Pauls, the Chairman of the Council, ‘Can the Chairman explain why his Council is so keen to “get into bed” with the rich and powerful in his Council constituency?’ Paul replied that, ‘These rezonings will bring many job opportunities and economic growth to our region.’

The following issue of Bared contained a piece by Barbara, entitled, ‘Wine, Women and Councillors’, and which read, in part:

‘We have it on good authority that, at a meeting with a number of Herbville’s senior councillors last week, sordid practices were exposed. We will preserve some parties’ names until the full facts are known, but let it just be said for now that a certain female councillor has surely lived well off the public purse. The well-known womaniser, Pauls, would be certain to quickly leap to her defence – clearly she is rewarding him!! A couple of them will be exposed as having their hands covered with ‘dirty money’ … and all the while rewarding big business at your expense.’

There were only two female councillors on the Herbville District Council: Qiana, who was 30, and Olga, who was 69 and who seemingly lived a quiet, pious and church- going life.

Before writing the feature, Barbara tried to contact Paul and Qiana, but they refused to take her calls, either stalling her with their secretary or with voicemail.

As it turned out, Paul is under investigation for wrongly claiming taxpayers’ money for a second home. Qiana is actually engaged to another councillor (not Paul), which was known only to her close circle of friends, and she has never been in a relationship with Paul. Olga is under investigation for accepting bribes from a business developer in order to get a rezoning application through Council, but this has not yet been reported upon.

Advise the parties as to any relevant causes of action in defamation (max 1500 words).

Zara was the publisher of an online subscriber-only weekly magazine, Bared, which contained a cartoon strip (also drawn by Zara) called ‘Politicians Debunked’. Last month, the cartoon featured a politician called Ric Richardson, who had been treated for depression in the past. The cartoon suggested that Ric was a mentally- unstable ‘power freak’, and depicted Ric being restrained in a bed in a mental facility.

Another section of the magazine was devoted to an investigation into allegations of corruption within the Herbville District Council. A public meeting was held, in which the Council was called upon to defend its grant of rezoning to certain large companies in its district who had submitted rezoning applications. Barbara, a journalist employed by Zara, attended the meeting, and asked Paul Pauls, the Chairman of the Council, ‘Can the Chairman explain why his Council is so keen to “get into bed” with the rich and powerful in his Council constituency?’ Paul replied that, ‘These rezonings will bring many job opportunities and economic growth to our region.’

The following issue of Bared contained a piece by Barbara, entitled, ‘Wine, Women and Councillors’, and which read, in part:

‘We have it on good authority that, at a meeting with a number of Herbville’s senior councillors last week, sordid practices were exposed. We will preserve some parties’ names until the full facts are known, but let it just be said for now that a certain female councillor has surely lived well off the public purse. The well-known womaniser, Pauls, would be certain to quickly leap to her defence – clearly she is rewarding him!! A couple of them will be exposed as having their hands covered with ‘dirty money’ … and all the while rewarding big business at your expense.’

There were only two female councillors on the Herbville District Council: Qiana, who was 30, and Olga, who was 69 and who seemingly lived a quiet, pious and church- going life.

Before writing the feature, Barbara tried to contact Paul and Qiana, but they refused to take her calls, either stalling her with their secretary or with voicemail.

As it turned out, Paul is under investigation for wrongly claiming taxpayers’ money for a second home. Qiana is actually engaged to another councillor (not Paul), which was known only to her close circle of friends, and she has never been in a relationship with Paul. Olga is under investigation for accepting bribes from a business developer in order to get a rezoning application through Council, but this has not yet been reported upon.

Advise the parties as to any relevant causes of action in defamation (max 1500 words).

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