Book Review: Torts Cases and Commentary
1080 pages, softcover
Authors: Harold Luntz, David Hambly, Kylie Burns, Joachim Dietrich, Neil Foster, Genevieve Grant, Sirko Harder
Reviewer: Brian Morgan
Whilst this book appears to be intended for undergraduate students, one should never miss an opportunity for digesting any commentary that has Professor Luntz’ name associated with it.
The introduction to this edition, occupies some 97 pages. It provides an opportunity for anyone who works in the area of Tort law to refresh their knowledge of the present state of the law and gain some insight into where it may move.
There is a deal of focus on personal injuries, as you would expect, with motor vehicle accidents and the associated insurance issues, together with a discussion concerning the National Disability Insurance Scheme, no fault insurance cover and the continuing conflict whereby one person who is injured may be entitled to insurance cover but the person injured alongside him, is not.
All of us must be aware of incidences where one seriously injured person has received damages which have turned out to be altogether inadequate for their long term care and others where a person has obtained a large payout against an anticipated long life only to die within a few years leaving large sums to their perfectly healthy family members.
I suspect that we are also aware of instances where an injured plaintiff has foolishly spent his or her damages and then assumes an entitlement to be supported by the State or the Commonwealth.
The Introduction discusses all of these issues and more.
The theme of this opening is amplified through the cases and commentary in the respective Chapters of which there are 18.
The subject headings will not surprise you. They are:
Negligence, Duty of Care: Negligence: Breach of Duty, Factual Causation and Scope of Liability, Damage, Defences to Torts Involving Negligence, Particular Negligence Situations, Damages, Wrongful Death, Breach of Statutory Duty, Intentional Interference with the Person, Trespass To Land, Defences to Intentional Torts, Nuisance, Strict Liability, the Negligent Infliction of Economic Loss, Vicarious Liability, and Concurrent Liability.
I have looked forward to reviewing this book for some time and have not been disappointed.
If you work in the area of Tort law, you owe it to yourself, at least, to read the commentaries even if the cases referred to in the text are familiar to you.
I came away from this book once again thinking to myself that the history of Tort law since 1932 has demonstrated that it is doubtful if our society can any longer afford to insure individually against harm. A national no-fault compensation scheme may well be closer than a lot of people think.