The Influence of "Reasonableness" on the Element of Conduct in Delictual or Tort Liability - Comparative Conclusions

Keywords: American law, conduct; commission, delict, English law, French law, involuntary, omission, reasonableness, South African law, tort, voluntary

Abstract

In this contribution the influence of reasonableness on the element of conduct in the South African law of delict will be analysed and compared with the requirement of some form of conduct in English tort law, American tort law and the French law of delict.

Fundamental similarities and differences among the different legal systems must be considered. France and South Africa follow a generalising approach to determining a delict while English and American law have a system of separate torts.

Even though English and American law do not explicitly refer to the requirement of conduct in tort law, it is generally implicitly required. This is the case whether one is dealing with the tort of negligence or the intentional torts. In French law too, a fait générateur (a generating, triggering, wrongful act or event) generally must also be present in order to ground delictual liability. The concept of fait générateur is broader than the concept of conduct found in the other jurisdictions in that it extends beyond what is regarded as human conduct. The conduct in all the jurisdictions may be in the form of a commission (a positive, physical act or statement) or an omission (a failure to act). The requirement that conduct must be voluntary is generally found in South African, English and American law (with an exception applying to mentally impaired persons) but not in France. Naturally, it is unreasonable to hold a person liable without conduct which results in the causing of harm or loss. In all the above-mentioned jurisdictions, it would generally be unreasonable to hold the wrongdoer liable in delict or tort law if the omission or commission does not qualify as some form of conduct. Thus the influence of reasonableness on the element of conduct in all the above-mentioned jurisdictions is implicit.

References

Bibliography

Literature

Ahmed "Influence of Reasonableness"
Ahmed R "The Influence of Reasonableness on the Elements of Delictual Liability" in Potgieter JM, Knobel J and Jansen R-M (eds) Essays in Honour of Johann Neethling (LexisNexis Durban 2015) 49-61

Ahmed Explicit and Implicit Influence of Reasonableness
Ahmed R The Explicit and Implicit Influence of Reasonableness on the Elements of Delictual Liability (LLD-thesis University of South Africa 2018)

Ahmed 2019a THRHR
Ahmed R "'Reasonableness' and Related Jurisprudential Concepts in the Law of Delict" 2019 THRHR 381-391

Ahmed 2019b THRHR
Ahmed R "The Historical Development of the Concept 'Reasonableness' in the Law of Delict" 2019 THRHR 257-266

Alexander and Szas 1967 Notre Dame L Rev
Alexander GJ and Szas TS "Mental Illness as an Excuse for Civil Wrongs" 1967 Notre Dame L Rev 24-38

American Law Institute Restatement Second of Torts 1965
American Law Institute Restatement Second of Torts (American Law Institute St Paul 1965)

American Law Institute Restatement Second of Torts 1979
American Law Institute Restatement Second of Torts (American Law Institute St Paul 1979)

American Law Institute Restatement Third of Torts 2010
American Law Institute Restatement Third of Torts (Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm) (American Law Institute St Paul 2010)

American Law Institute Restatement Third of Torts 2015
American Law Institute Restatement Third of Torts (Intentional Torts to Persons) (Tentative Draft No 1 April 8 2015) (American Law Institute St Paul 2015)

Borghetti 2012 JETL
Borghetti J-S "The Culture of Tort Law in France" 2012 JETL 158-182

Burchell Principles of Delict
Burchell JM Principles of Delict (Juta Cape Town 1993)

Deakin, Johnston and Markesinis Markesinis and Deakin's Tort Law
Deakin S, Johnston A and Markesinis B Markesinis and Deakin's Tort Law 7th ed (Clarendon Press Oxford 2013)

Dobbs, Hayden and Bublick Hornbook on Torts
Dobbs DB, Hayden PT and Bublick EM Hornbook on Torts 2nd ed (West St Paul MN 2016)

Epstein Cases and Materials on Torts
Epstein RA Cases and Materials on Torts 8th ed (Aspen Law New York 2004)

Fletcher 1985 Harv L Rev
Fletcher GP "The Right and the Reasonable" 1985 Harv L Rev 949-982

Galand-Carval "France"
Galand-Carval S "France: Causation under French Law" in Spier J (ed) Unification of Tort Law: Causation (Kluwer Law The Hague 2000) 53-62

Galand-Carval "Liability for Damage Caused by Others"
Galand-Carval S "Liability for Damage Caused by Others under French Law" in Spier J (ed) Unification of Tort Law: Liability for Damage Caused by Others (Kluwer Law The Hague 2003) 85-103

Giliker Tort
Giliker P Tort 5th ed (Sweet & Maxwell London 2014)

Green and Cardi "Basic Questions of Tort Law"
Green MD and Cardi WJ "Basic Questions of Tort Law from the Perspective of the USA" in Koziol H (ed) Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective (Jan Sramek Verlag Wien 2015) 431-514

Hahlo and Kahn South African Legal System
Hahlo HR and Kahn E The South African Legal System and its Background (Juta Cape Town 1968)

Himonga and Nhlapo African Customary Law
Himonga C and Nhlapo RT (eds) African Customary Law in South Africa: Post-Apartheid and Living Perspectives (Oxford University Press Cape Town 2014)

Jones "Negligence"
Jones MA "Negligence" in Jones MA (gen ed) Clerk and Lindsell on Torts 21st ed (Sweet & Maxwell London 2014) 439-607

Keeton et al Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts
Keeton P et al Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts 5th ed (West St Paul MN 1984)

Koziol "Comparative Conclusions"
Koziol H "Comparative Conclusions" in Koziol H (ed) Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective (Jan Sramek Verlag Wien 2015) 685-838

Loubser and Midgley Law of Delict
Loubser MM and Midgley JR (eds) The Law of Delict in South Africa 3rd ed (Oxford University Press Cape Town 2018)

Lunney, Nolan and Oliphant Tort Law
Lunney M, Nolan D and Oliphant K Tort Law: Text and Materials 6th ed (Oxford University Press Oxford 2017)

McBride and Bagshaw Tort Law
McBride NJ and Bagshaw R Tort Law 5th ed (Pearson Education New York 2015)

Moréteau "Basic Questions of Tort Law"
Moréteau O "Basic Questions of Tort Law from a French Perspective" in Koziol H (ed) Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective (Jan Sramek Verlag Wien 2015) 3-98

Mullender 2005 MLR
Mullender R "The Reasonable Person, the Pursuit of Justice, and Negligence Law" 2005 MLR 681-695

Murphy "Trespass to the Person"
Murphy J "Trespass to the Person" in Jones MA (gen ed) Clerk and Lindsell on Torts 21st ed (Sweet & Maxwell London 2014) 1091-1173

Neethling and Potgieter Law of Delict
Neethling J and Potgieter JM Law of Delict 7th ed (LexisNexis Durban 2015)

Peel and Goudkamp Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort
Peel E and Goudkamp J Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort 19th ed (Sweet & Maxwell London 2014)

Shapo Principles of Tort Law
Shapo M Principles of Tort Law 4th ed (West Academic Eagan MN 2016)

Steele Tort Law
Steele J Tort Law 3rd ed (Oxford University Press Oxford 2014)

Van Dam European Tort Law
Van Dam C European Tort Law 2nd ed (Oxford University Press Oxford 2013)

Van der Merwe and Olivier Onregmatige Daad in die Suid- Afrikaanse Reg
Van der Merwe NJ and Olivier PJJ Die Onregmatige Daad in die Suid- Afrikaanse Reg 6th ed (JP van der Walt Pretoria 1989)

Van der Walt and Midgley Principles of Delict
Van der Walt JC and Midgley JR Principles of Delict 4th ed (LexisNexis Durban 2016)

Van Gerven, Lever and Larouche Tort Law
Van Gerven W, Lever JF and Larouche P Tort Law (Hart Oxford 2000)

Visser "Compensation for Pecuniary Loss"
Visser D "Compensation for Pecuniary Loss – Actio Legis Aquiliae" in Du Bois F (ed) Wille's Principles of South African Law 9th ed (Juta Cape Town 2007) 1094-1160

Witting Street on Torts
Witting CA Street on Torts 14th ed (Oxford University Press Oxford 2015)

Zweigert and Kötz Introduction to Comparative Law
Zweigert K and Kötz H Introduction to Comparative Law 3rd ed (Clarendon Press Oxford 2011)

Case law

France
CA Lyon 16 December 1988, JCP 1990 II 21510 observations Collomb
Cass civ 2 3 July 1991 90-13158, Bull civ 1991 II 210 111
Cass civ 2 14 June 1972 71-11318, Bull civ 1972 II 180 146, 1973 Jur 423 note Lepointe

South Africa
Gabellone v Protea Assurance Ltd 1981 4 SA 171 (O)
Government v Marine and Trade Insurance Co Ltd 1973 3 SA 797 (D)
Jooste v Minister of Police 1975 1 SA 349 (E)
Molefe v Mahaeng 1999 1 SA 562 (SCA)
R v Dhlamini 1955 1 SA 120 (T)
R v Mkize 1959 2 SA 260 (N)
S v Arnold 1985 3 SA 256 (C)
S v Chretien 1981 1 SA 1097 (A)
S v Goliath 1972 3 SA 1 (A)
S v Mahlinza 1967 1 SA 408 (A)
S v Makwanyane 1995 6 BCLR 665 (CC)
Wessels v Hall and Pickles (Coastal) (Pty) Ltd 1985 4 SA 153 (C)

United Kingdom
Collins v Wilcock 1984 1 WLR 1172
F v West Berkshire HA 1990 2 AC 1, 1989 2 All ER 545
Fowler v Lanning 1959 1 QB 426
Frieman v Home Office (No 2) 1983 All ER 589
Iqbal v Prison Officers Association 2010 QB 732
Letang v Cooper 1965 1 QB 232
Mansfield v Weetabix 1988 1 WLR 1263 (CA)
Morris v Marsden 1952 All ER 925
R v Ireland 1998 AC 147
Read v Cocker 138 ER 1437
Roberts v Chief Constable of the Cheshire Constabulary 1999 WLR 662
Scott v Shepherd 1773 96 ER 525
Sterman v EW & W J Moore Ltd 1970 1 QB 596
Vaughan v Menlove 3 Bing NC 468, 132 Eng Rep 490 (CP 1837)
Wainwright v Home Office 2004 2 AC 406
Waugh v James K Allen Ltd 1964 2 Lloyd's Rep 1
Weaver v Ward 1617 80 ER 284
Wilson v Pringle 1987 QB 237

United States of America
Adams v Wal-Mart Stores Inc 324 F 3d 935, 941 (7th Cir 2003)
Baker v Joyal 4 AD 3d 596, 771 NYS 2d 269 (2004)
Bowie v Murphy 271 Va 127, 624 SE 2d 74 (2006)
Breunig v American Family Ins 45 Wis 2d 536, 173 NW 2d 619, 49 ALR 3d 179 (1970)
Cain v McKinnon 552 So 2d 91 (Miss 1989)
Chavez v Thomas & Betts Corp 396 F 3d 1088, 1101 (10th Cir 2005)
Creasy v Rusk 730 NE 2d 659 (Ind 2000)
Cullison v Medley 570 NE 2d 27 (Ind 1991)
Collins v Straight Inc 748 F 2d 916 (4th Cir 1984)
Davies v Butler 95 Nev 763, 602 P 2d 605 (1979)
Draper v Baker 61 Wis 450, 21 NW 527 (1884)
Field v Philadelphia Elec Co 388 Pa Super 400, 417, 565 A 2d 1170, 1178 (1989)
Fisher v Carrousel Motor Hotel Inc Tex (1967) 424 SW 2d 627
Frechette v Welch (1st Cir 1980) 621 F 2d 11
Fuerschbach v Southwest Airlines Co 439 F 3d 1197 (10th Cir 2006)
Garratt v Dailey 46 Wash 2d 197, 279 P 2d 1091 (1995)
Geddes v Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul Inc 348 F 2d 144 (5th Cir 1965)
Goodrich v Blair 132 Ariz 459, 646 P 2d 890 (1982)
Haber v County of Nassau 577 F 2d 322 (2nd Cir 1977)
Hamilton v Kinsey Ala 1976 337 So 2d 344
Hancock-Underwood v Knight 670 SE 2d 720 (Va 2009)
Holdorf v Holdorf 1918 185 Iowa 838, 169 NW 737
Howle v PYA/Monarch Inc 288 SC 586, 344 SE 2d 157 (1986)
Johnson v Bollinger 86 NC App 1, 356 SE 2d 378 (1987)
Johnson v Ramsey County, 424 NW 2d 800 (Minn Ct App 1988)
Jolley v Powell Fla App 1974 299 So 2d 647
Kuhn v Zabostsky 1967, 9 Ohio St 2d 129, 224 NE 2d 137
Lamb v State 93 Md App 422, 438, 613 A 2d 402, 409 (1993)
Lutzkovitz v Murray 339 A 2d 64, 93 ALR 3d 321 (Del 1975)
McCraney v Flanagan 47 NC App 498, 267 SE 2d 404 (1980)
McGuire v Almy 8 NE 2d 760 (Mass 1936)
Mims v Boland 110 Ga App 477, 138 SE 2d 902 (1964)
Moore v Preenell 1977 38 Md App 243, 379 A 2d 1246
Muslow v AG Edwards & Sons Inc 509 So 2d 1012, 1021 (La Ct App 1987)
Noble v Noble 761 P 2d 1369 (Utah 1988)
Noguchi v Nakamura 2 Haw App 655, 638 P 2d 1383 (1982)
Piggly-Wiggly Alabama Co v Rickles 1925 212 Ala 585, 103 So 860
Polmatier v Russ 537 A 2d 468 (Conn 1988)
Raess v Doescher 883 NE 2d 790 (Ind 2008)
Rogers v Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel 526 F Supp 523 (DDC 1981)
Selmeczki v New Mexico Dep't of Corrections 139 NM 122, 129 P 3d 158 (Ct App 2006)
Sindle v New York City Transit Auth 33 NYS 2d 183, 307 NE 2d 245 (1973)
Snouffer v Snouffer 621 NE 2d 879 (Ohio Ct App 1933)
Stockett v Tolin 791 F Supp 1536 (SD Fla 1992)
Stockwell v Gee 1926 121 Okl 207, 249 P 389
Strain v Irwin 1915 195 Ala 414, 70 So 734
Swope v Columbian Chems Co 281 F 3d 185 (5th Cir 2002)
Taylor v Johnston 985 P 2d 460 (Alaska 1999)
Townsdin v Nutt 1877 19 Kan 282
Webbier v Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau Inc 105 RI 605, 614, 254 A 2d 285, 290 (1969)
White v University of Idaho 797 P 2d 108, 109 (Idaho 1990)
Whitley v Anderson 37 Colo App 486, 551 P 2d 1083 (1976), aff'd, 194 Colo 87, 570 P 2d 525 (1977)
Williams v Hays 157 NY 541, 52 NE 589 (1899)
Williams v Kearby 775 P 2d 670 (Kan App 1989)
Williams v Southern Calif Gas Co 176 Cal App 4th 591, 98 Cal Rptr 3d 258 (2009)

Legislation

France
French Civil Code of 1804

Germany
Bϋrgerliches Gesetzbuch (Civil Code)

South Africa
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

United States of America
Constitution of the USA
Views
  • Abstract 16
  • pdf 9
  • xml 0
  • epub 2
Views and downloads are with effect from 11 January 2018
Published
2019-10-07
Section
Articles