Actionable Torts in UK Law

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Leading Cases
  • OBG Ltd and another v Allan and Others
    • House of Lords
    • 02 May 2007

    In my opinion, and subject to one qualification, acts against a third party count as unlawful means only if they are actionable by that third party. The qualification is that they will also be unlawful means if the only reason why they are not actionable is because the third party has suffered no loss. In the case of intimidation, for example, the threat will usually give rise to no cause of action by the third party because he will have suffered no loss.

    In my opinion the courts should be similarly cautious in extending a tort which was designed only to enforce basic standards of civilised behaviour in economic competition, between traders or between employers and labour. Otherwise there is a danger that it will provide a cause of action based on acts which are wrongful only in the irrelevant sense that a third party has a right to complain if he chooses to do so.

    The mental ingredient is an intention by the defendant to procure or persuade ('induce') the third party to break his contract with the claimant. The defendant is made responsible for the third party's breach because of his intentional causative participation in that breach. Quite unknowingly and unintentionally he may procure a breach of the contract by offering an inconsistent deal to a contracting party which persuades the latter to default on his contractual obligations.

    Nevertheless, the common thread is striking through a third party who might otherwise be doing business with your target, whether by buying his goods, hiring his barges or working for him or whatever. In the modern age, Parliament has shown itself more than ready to legislate to draw the line between fair and unfair trade competition or between fair and unfair trade union activity.

  • Sorrell v Smith
    • House of Lords
    • 15 May 1925

    How any definite line is to be drawn between acts, whose real purpose is to advance the defendants' interests, and acts, whose real purpose is to injure the plaintiff in his trade, is a thing which I feel at present beyond my power. When the whole object of the defendants' action is to capture the plaintiff's business, their gain must be his loss. The defendants' success is the plaintiff's extinction and they cannot seek the one without ensuing the other.

  • Esso Petroleum Company Ltd v Mardon
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 06 Feb 1976

    It seems to me that Hedley Byrne, properly understood, covers this particular proposition: If a man, who has or professes to have special knowledge or skill, makes a representation by virtue thereof to another – be it advice, information or opinion – with the intention of inducing him to enter into a contract with him, he is under a duty to use reasonable care to see that the representation is correct, and that the advice, information or opinion is reliable.

  • Smith New Court Securities Ltd v Scrimgeour Vickers (Asset Management) Ltd and Another
    • House of Lords
    • 21 Nov 1996

    But in cases where property has been acquired in reliance on a fraudulent misrepresentation there are likely to be many cases where the general rule has to be departed from in order to give adequate compensation for the wrong done to the plaintiff, in particular where the fraud continues to influence the conduct of the plaintiff after the transaction is complete or where the result of the transaction induced by fraud is to lock the plaintiff into continuing to hold the asset acquired. But in cases where property has been acquired in reliance on a fraudulent misrepresentation there are likely to be many cases where the general rule has to be departed from in order to give adequate compensation for the wrong done to the plaintiff, in particular where the fraud continues to influence the conduct of the plaintiff after the transaction is complete or where the result of the transaction induced by fraud is to lock the plaintiff into continuing to hold the asset acquired.

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Legislation
  • Crime and Courts Act 2013
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2013
    ...... the Secretary of State to sustain loss or damage is to be actionable, at the Secretary of State's suit or instance, against the person in ...SCH-9.133 .   . 133 In the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977- . . (a) in section 4(4)- . (i) for ......
  • Consumer Protection Act 1987
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1987
    ......a contravention of any such obligation shall be actionable. accordingly. . (2) This Act shall not be construed as conferring any ...The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 . The Torts (Interference with Goods) ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAW OF TORTS IN ISRAEL
    • Nbr. 24-3, May 1961
    • The Modern Law Review
    ......: The Ordinance does not deal with the following torts which are well-known civil wrongs in English law, but are not actionable in Israeli law, as they are not included in the Civil Wrongs Ordinance : Master and servant: claims for seduction and loss of ......
  • Comparative Notes on Injunction and Wrongful Risk-Taking
    • Nbr. 17-1, March 2010
    • Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
    This article looks into the role of injunctive relief in tort law. More specifically, it focuses on the role of injunction in cases concerning wrongful risk-taking behaviour (as opposed to intentio...
    ...... mechanisms for injunctive relief i n cases concerning deliberate torts was as daunting to the Romans as considering a n ov erarching conception ... ing between categories of wrongful acts which a re actionable per se and those that only give rise to a c ause of action if ......
  • A Tort‐Based Approach to Damages under the Human Rights Act 1998
    • Nbr. 72-5, September 2009
    • The Modern Law Review
    This article argues that a strong case can be made for departing from the current approach to damages under the Human Rights Act 1998, and for the adoption of an alternative tort‐based approach. Th...
    ...... also the aimof monetary a wards madei nthe context of tort s actionableper se, which have long protected many human rights. Lastly, if damages do pla ... and corporeal integ rity are protected both by Convention rights and torts such as false imprisonmen t and trespassto the person. It wo uld take ......
  • Notes Of Cases
    • Nbr. 20-6, November 1957
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... the wide-held view that the master is liable for the torts of his servant, it may be said that the husband’s ... for enabling the employer to escape liability for actionable torts committed by his servants in the course of ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • The Power of the Freezer
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    In a helpful decision for claimants, the UK Supreme Court has confirmed that conspiring to breach a Freezing Order constitutes “unlawful means” for the purposes of the tort of Unlawful Means Conspi...
    ...... . Conspiracy is one of a group of torts commonly known as economic torts and allows a party to recover damages ... or fiduciary duties, breach of civil statutory duties, torts actionable by third parties (other than the claimant) and criminal acts. Which of ......
  • Threats Of IP Infringement And The Amendments To S70 Patents Act
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... provision making unjustifiable threats of infringement actionable being incorporated in the Patents, Designs and Trade Marks Act of 1883. ... Several common law torts can, and have been, used to achieve much the same result as the statutory ......
  • Threats Of IP Infringement And The Amendments To S70 Patents Act
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... provision making unjustifiable threats of infringement actionable being incorporated in the Patents, Designs and Trade Marks Act of 1883. ... Several common law torts can be, and have been, used to achieve much the same result as the ......
  • Michael Douglas Photo Exclusive And Other Stories
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...House of Lords re-defines the law on economic torts and commercial confidentiality: OBG v Allan; Douglas v Hello! Limited; and ... any photographs of the wedding, and that was, in his view, an actionable right of confidentiality which Hello! had breached. In one of the two ......
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