Advanced Topics in Tort Law - LAWS6520

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) John Dickie checkmark-circle


The module will assume prior knowledge and understanding of the foundational levels of tort law taught in LAWS3150 and LAWS6510. In the module, students will focus on contentious areas of tort law from a critical perspective. They will look at areas such as those in the following (not exhaustive or all-inclusive) list: reproductive harms, wrongful birth/life, 'toxic torts' and developments in the law on causation, invasion of privacy and/or autonomy, feminist perspectives/critiques on torts, negligent policing (and of other public bodies), tort law and human rights, access to justice, conceptions of justice in/philosophy of tort. Teaching of these areas may be undertaken by ‘experts’ in a particular topic, so the availability of each topic may vary on an annual basis to account for e.g. periods of study leave.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130
Total study hours: 150


All single and joint honours Law programmes

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Written essay (2500 words) (50%) / Examination, 2-hour unseen (50%)

Reassessment methods


Indicative reading

• Cane, P., Atiyah's Accidents, Compensation and the Law (CUP, 2013 or later edition if published)
• Conaghan, J. and Mansell, W., The Wrongs of Tort (2nd ed.) (Pluto Press, 1998)
• Cranor, C.F., Toxic Torts: Science, Law, and the Possibility of Justice (Cambridge, 2008)
• Greene, S., Causation in Negligence (Hart Publishing, 2016)
• McIvor, C., Third Party Liability in Tort (Hart Publishing, 2006)
• Oberdiek, J., Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts (OUP, 2014)
• Priaulx, N., Beyond the Negligence Paradigm: Developing a Regulatory Ergonomic Approach to Error and Injury (forthcoming 2017)
• Priaulx, N., The Harm Paradox: Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice (Routledge-Cavendish, 2007).
• Rackley, E. and Richardson, J., Feminist Perspectives on Tort (Routledge-Cavendish, 2012)
• Teff, H., Causing Psychiatric and Emotional Harm: Reshaping the Boundaries of Legal Liability (Hart Publishing, 2008)
• Turton, G., Evidential Uncertainty in Causation in Negligence (Bloomsbury, 2016)
• Wright, J., Tort Law and Human Rights (2nd ed.) (Hart Publishing, 2017)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of currently contentious areas of tort law.
2. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of differing views on, and interpretations of, the adequacy of particular aspects of the law of tort as
a vehicle for redress.
3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of historical and contemporary theoretical and policy problems in tort law.
4. Critically analyse and evaluate tort law's role in modern society.
5. Use the knowledge of the law gained, and of its contextual and socio-economic underpinnings, to engage with questions of policy,
regulation and change.
6. Use non-legal materials to evaluate areas of the law of tort in terms of its consequences and theoretical coherence.
7. Show an understanding and appreciation of the influence of various torts as they arise and operate within complex historical and political

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Present relevant knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned argument.
2. Identify and evaluate contemporary legal and policy problems/areas of discord according to historical, socio-political and socio-legal
3. Use library and web resources, including journal articles and policy documents, to conduct complex research.
4. Properly present material with correct citation and use of references where appropriate
5. Distinguish soundly-based knowledge and evidenced claims from unfounded assertions and to use evidence to support their own
assertions and arguments


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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