The Defence of Illegality: Gray v. Thames Trains Ltd

(2009) 17 Torts Law Journal pp. 205-218

14 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016

See all articles by James Goudkamp

James Goudkamp

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Gray v Thames Trains Ltd was the first occasion on which the House of Lords directly considered the defence of illegality to liability in tort. In it, the House recognised two versions of the defence. Then arrow version prevents damages from being recovered in respect of a criminal sanction imposed on the claimant. The wide version applies when the claimant caused his or her loss by committing an illegal act. The principal problem with the House’s decision is that it failed to realise that the wide version is indefensible. Gray is a wasted opportunity to give the illegality defence an appropriate scope.

Keywords: tort, negligence, defences, illegality, causation

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Goudkamp, James, The Defence of Illegality: Gray v. Thames Trains Ltd (2009). (2009) 17 Torts Law Journal pp. 205-218. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2737638

James Goudkamp (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

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