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In simple words, Tort is a Civil Wrong. Law of Torts is one of the important branches of Law.

Meaning of Tort

The word Tort is derived from a Latin word 'Tortus' which means 'twisted' or 'cooked act'. In English it
means, 'wrong'. The Expression 'Tort' is of French Origin.

The term 'Tort' means a wrongful act committed by a person, causing injury or damage to another,
thereby the injured institutes (files) an action in Civil Court for a remedy viz., unliquidated damages
or injunction or restitution of property or other available relief. Unliquidated damages means the amount
of damages to be fixed or determined by the Court.

 The person who commits or is guilty of a tort is called a "tortfeasor". (Gordon v. Lee, 133 Me. 361,
178 A. 353, 355)
 The person who suffered injury or damage by a tortfeasor is called injured or aggrieved.
 Tort is a common law term and its equivalent in Civil Law is "Delict".
 As a general rule, all persons have the capacity to sue and be sued in a tort.
Types of Wrongs

Wrong can be of two types - Public and Private. Tort is a Private Wrong, whereas Crime is a Public
Wrong. Torts are tried in Civil Courts.

 Wrong
 Public wrong - These are acts that are tried in Criminal Courts and are punishable under the
Penal Law (such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in India)
 Private wrong - These are acts against an individual person or a person within a community and
are tried in Civil Courts.

Main article: History of Torts

The 'Law of Torts' owes its origin to the Common Law of England. It is well developed in the UK, USA
and other advanced Countries. In India, Law of Torts is non codified, like other branches of law eg: Indian
Contract Act, 1872 and Indian Penal Code, 1860. It is still in the process of development.

A tort can take place either by commission of an act or by omission of an act.


Main article: Definition of Tort

According to Prof. Winfield, Tortious Liability arises from breach of a duty primarily fixed by law; this duty
is towards persons generally and its breach is redressable by an action for unliquidated damages.
Sir John Salmond defined Tort as a civil wrong for which the remedy is common law action for
unliquidated damages and which is not exclusively the breach of contract or the breach of trust or other
merely equitable obligation.
Types of Torts

Broadly speaking, Torts are of three types:

 Intentional Torts
 Against the Person: Assault, Battery, Infliction of mental distress, False imprisonment
 Against the Property
 Negligence
 Strict Liability

1. Tort, is a private wrong, which infringes the legal right of an individual or specific group of
2. The person, who commits tort is called "tort-feasor" or "Wrong doer"
3. The place of trial is Civil Court.
4. Tort litigation is compoundable i.e. the plaintiff can withdraw the suit filed by him.
5. Tort is a specie of civil wrong.
6. Tort is other than a breach of contract
7. The remedy in tort is unliquidated damages or other equitable relief to the injured.
Essential elements to prove a Tort

 Existence of legal duty from defendant to plaintiff

 Breach of duty
 Damage as proximate result.
Related Case

 City of Mobile v. McClure, 221 Ala. 51, 127 So. 832, 835.
Types of Tort

 Maritime Tort
 Personal Tort
 Property Tort
 Quasi Tort
 Willful Tort
Differences between Tort and a Crime
Tort Crime
Tort is tried in Civil Courts Crimes are tried in Criminal Courts
A person who commits Tort is a 'tortfeasor' A person who commits Crime is a 'Criminal' or 'Offender'
The remedy of tort is unliquidated damages or
The remedy is to punish the offender
other equitable relief to the injured
Criminal cases are not compoundable except in case of
Tort litigation is compoundable
exceptions as per Section 320 Cr.PC of IPC
Law of Torts in UK / English Tort Law

The English Tory System was based on a closed system of nominate torts and follows the Roman law.
Examples for this include trespass, battery and conversion. Negligence is the most popular form of tort.
For liability under negligence a duty of care must be established owed to a group of persons of which the
victim is one, a nebulous concept into which many other categories are being pulled towards. But as Lord
MacMillan said in the case, "the categories of negligence are never closed".

The subject of Law of Torts is well developed in countries like USA, UK etc. It is still in the process of
development and adaptation in India due to the lack of triple activism.

1. Activism in People - In England and other advanced countries, people approach court even for
simple cases. However, in India because of poverty, illiteracy, spirit of toleration and lack of legal
know-how, the people are reluctant to approach courts.
2. Activism in Judiciary - In India, the number of Courts and judicial offers is very limited and the
cost of litigation is highly expensive. There is an inordinate delay in disposal of cases.
3. Activism in Legislature - British legislature passes legislation well in advance wherever

 In the Indian system, punishments for crime is given more importance than compensation for wrongs.
Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law

 Rohtas Industries Ltd vs Rohtas Industries Staff Union, (1976) 2 SCC 82(93): AIR 1976 SC 425: In
the context of tort of conspiracy, the court held, 'We cannot incorporate English torts without any
adaption into Indian Law'.
 Lala Punnalal vs Kasturichand Ramji, (1945) 2 MLJ 461: There is nothing like exhaustive
classification of torts beyond which courts should not proceed. Te new invasion of rights devised by
human ingenuity might give rise to new classes of torts and in that way malicious house search may
constitute such a new tort.