The Defence of Illegality in Tort Law: Wither the Rule in Pitts v Hunt?
James Goudkamp, ‘The Defence of Illegality in Tort Law: Wither the Rule in Pitts v Hunt?’ (2012) 71 Cambridge Law Journal pp.481–484.
5 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016 Last revised: 27 Mar 2016
Date Written: 2012
There are at least four types of actions in tort to which the defence of illegality might be relevant. First, there are cases in which the loss about which the claimant complains is a criminal law sanction imposed upon him (e.g., Clunis v Camden and Islington HA  Q.B. 978). Secondly, there are actions in which the claimant seeks redress in respect of lost illegal earnings (e.g., Hewison v Meridian Shipping Pte Ltd  EWCA Civ 1821,  I.C.R. 766). Thirdly, there are proceedings in which the claimant, when he was injured, was committing a criminal offence unilaterally, that is, an offence in which the defendant was not implicated (e.g., Vellino v CC of Greater Manchester  EWCA Civ 1249,  1 W.L.R. 218). Lastly, and most importantly as a practical matter, there are cases in which the parties were engaged in a joint illegal enterprise when the claimant was hurt.
Keywords: tort, negligence, defences, illegality
JEL Classification: K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation