Teaching Torts: Where to Start in an Age of Statutes?

Torts Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 173-186, 2010

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/83

15 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2010  

Barbara McDonald

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: August 26, 2010

Abstract

This article uses the law of contributory negligence to illustrate the continuing inter-relationship between the common law and statute and the existence of universal issues of liability. It contrasts two approaches to teaching or deconstructing the law: starting at the ‘beginning’ of the story or starting with the current statute. Either approach illustrates how the modern lawyer - more mobile than ever and increasingly transnational - must engage in comparative study to understand the range of policy choices that courts and legislatures - in all jurisdictions - must make in the irrespective but not mutually exclusive roles of fixing and distributing the burden of liability. Both approaches also show that the teaching of statutory interpretation need not be parochial but can give insight into differing answers to these universal issues.

Keywords: tort law, statutory interpretation, comparative tort law, contributory negligence, apportionment, negligence

JEL Classification: K10, K13, K30

Suggested Citation

McDonald, Barbara, Teaching Torts: Where to Start in an Age of Statutes? (August 26, 2010). Torts Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 173-186, 2010; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/83. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1666571

Barbara McDonald (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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