LW1TORNU-Tort Law (NUIST-Reading Academy)

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: LW1JILSNU Jurisprudence (NUIST-Reading Academy) and LW1CONNU Contract Law (NUIST-Reading Academy)
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Ms Sharon Sinclair-Graham

Email: sharon.sinclair-graham@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The course focuses on all key aspects of tort, studying the rights and duties of civil wrongs (as opposed to crimes).


To give students a thorough grounding in the law of tort

Assessable learning outcomes:

• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles of tort law

• Show evidence of the ability to apply techniques of ordered thinking and the skills necessary to analyse and solve legal problems;

• Communicate legal arguments clearly and succinctly, by means of presentations and written work, and to draw appropriate conclusions;

Additional outcomes:

• The development of library and research skills and the ability to make use of available resources.

• An ability to understand legal academic texts, both written and spoken, more easily

Outline content:

The Tort module will be structured as followed for each week:

Lecture – 2 hours per week

Seminar – 2 hours per week – to include seminar problems and presentations

Specialized Seminar – 2 hours per week – problem solving, homework discussion and review of the lectures and understanding of the principles taught previously

Week 1

Introduction to TORT. Introducing the Tort of Negligence and the duty of care.

Week 2

Duty of Care continued– when is a duty of care owed? The origins of negligence and the neighbour principle, and the modern 3-part test in Caparo v Dickman [1990]. A brief look at the problem of “remoteness” and “reasonable foresight” and problems of “floodgates” and fairness.

Week 3

Standard of care and breach of duty of care – establishing the standard of care. The “reasonable man” test, and standard expected of particular classes of defendants eg professionals, children, and the inexperienced. The Bolam and Bolitho tests for professionals and experts. Case application. Criticisms of the tests. Tests to prove when the duty is breached – Bolton v Stone.

Week 4

Causation and Remoteness of damage. Test for causation in fact and law. The “egg-shell skull” or “thin-skull” rule and its effect. Novus actus interveniens”, (intervening acts of third parties) and the concept of Res Ipsa Loquitur and cases.

Week 5

Defences to negligence

Week 6

Reading Week – students will consolidate their learning thus far, ready for a mid-term test in week 7.

Week 7

Novel duty situations – a focus on psychiatric injury. Development of duty including Dulieu, and Alcock v CC of Yorkshire., Understanding different tests applicable to Primary and Secondary victims and the difficulty of successfully claiming as a secondary victim. Distinguishing between professional and amateur rescuers

Week 8

Vicarious liability – Distinguishing between employees and independent contractors. What is the “course of employment” and recent developments.

Week 9

Policy considerations in establishing liability in the Tort of negligence. A critical overview.

Week 19

Tort of negligence in context – problem scenarios.

Week 11


Week 12


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Topics are introduced through a combination of taught classes, seminars and individual tutorials. Independent learning is encouraged through reading based on textbooks, articles and case studies. Case and statute exercises assist in the development of skills in legal reasoning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Seminars 78
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20
    Wider reading (directed) 20
    Exam revision/preparation 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for presentations 5
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 15
    Group study tasks 5
    Essay preparation 10
    Reflection 4
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 75
Written assignment including essay 10
Set exercise 15

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One exam in summer term – 3 hours long which is worth 70% which is combined with Contract Law

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One assignment set in the Spring term, to be submitted in the Summer Term which is worth 10%

Formative assessment methods:

Mid-term test in week 7 on the previous weeks across Tort and Jurisprudence

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Written examination 100%

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 4 June 2019


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