Torts (LAWS5001)


This is a general introductory unit of study concerned with liability for civil wrongs. The unit seeks to examine and evaluate, through a critical and analytical study of primary and secondary materials, the function and scope of modern tort law and the rationale and utility of its governing principles. Particular topics on which the unit will focus include:
(a) The relationship between torts and other branches of the common law including contract and criminal law;
(b) The role of fault as the principal basis of liability in the modern law;
(c) Historical development of trespass and the action on the case and the contemporary relevance of this development;
(d) Trespass to the person (battery, assault, and false imprisonment);
(e) Trespass to land and private nuisance;
(f) The action on the case for intentional injury;
(g) Defences to trespass, including consent, intellectual disability, childhood, necessity and contributory negligence;
(h) Development and scope of the modern tort of negligence, including detailed consideration of duty of care and breach of duty and causation and remoteness of damage with particular reference to personal and psychiatric injury;
(i) Compensation for personal injuries, including special and alternative compensation schemes;
(j) Injuries to relational interests, including compensation to relatives of victims of fatal accidents;
(k) Defences to negligence.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Daytime stream: 2x2hr seminars/wk for 10 weeks. Evening stream: 1x3hr seminar/wk for 13 weeks.


Daytime stream: Tutorial participation and tutorial presentation (10%), 1hr interim exam (40%), Problem question / issue identification assessment (10%) and final 2hr closed book exam (40%).
Evening stream: 1hr closed-book interim exam (30%) and 2hr closed-book final exam (70%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


LAWS1010 or LAWS1012 or LAWS3001



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.