Monday, January 15, 2007

The Devil's Law Dictionary - Entry one

So far in Torts, we have spent the bulk of our time learning about negligence. One key aspect of negligence law, as we are learning, is determining whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In Canada, there is a test (known variously through time and space as the Anns, Anns/Kamloops, Kamloops, and Cooper tests - for reasons that I will not get into) for determining whether such a duty exists. It is a two-step procedure, the first step (essentially) being to assess if a duty exists, and the second being whether there are any policy reasons why this duty should be negated. One such reason is 'indeterminate liability' - basically, the court says "if we let you sue, even though the defendant owed you a duty, there is nothing stopping just about anybody from suing, so you can't do it."

The lesson for the Devil's Law Dictionary:

Indeterminate Liability (n) - If you are not going to fulfill a duty, make sure you owe it to as many people as possible.

2 comments:

Paniga said...

Thanks for writing this.

Legal Fiction said...

Uh, you're welcome?