The Causation Element (LAWS6976)


The focus in this unit is on causation as an element in civil claims and criminal offences - the plaintiff must prove the defendant's breach caused the plaintiff's damage; the prosecution must prove that the defendant's act/omission caused the victim's death. We will examine competing definitions and conceptualizations of causation - over determination and the limits of the but/for notion; the extent to which it is possible to separate factual and legal causation; common sense versus conceptual analysis. We will also consider special proof rules that are being developed to address the difficulties causation presents - loss of chance, material contribution, presumed causation (following proof of breach).

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Further unit of study information


Oct 14, 15 & 28, 29 (9-5)


4500wd essay (50%) and 1500wd take-home exam (50%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

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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.