First Principles of Business Law

The tort of Negligence

6. Causation

6.1.1. The concept of 'actionable' harm




To succeed in an action for negligence, the defendant's breach of their duty of care must be shown to have caused a kind of harm to the plaintiff that the law recognises as giving rise to legal liability. This can be referred to as 'actionable' harm. 

There are two main questions to consider.

  • The first question is whether the injury or loss amounts to recognised harm for the purpose of Negligence. Not all undesirable consequences of conduct count as 'harm' for Negligence.
  • The second question is, how serious must the harm be before it gives rise to liability in Negligence? Can the element of 'harm' be satisfied if the injury, damage or loss suffered is merely trivial?

These questions will be considered on the next pages.












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