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Common Law and Modern SocietyKeeping Pace with Change$
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Mary Arden

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755845

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755845.001.0001

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Duty, Causal Contribution, and the Scope of Responsibility

Duty, Causal Contribution, and the Scope of Responsibility

Does the Law of Negligence Impose Rational Limits?

(p.82) 5 Duty, Causal Contribution, and the Scope of Responsibility
Common Law and Modern Society

Mary Arden

Oxford University Press

This chapter identifies the potential legal ‘hangovers’ weighing down the contemporary laws of negligence. The term ‘legal hangovers’ refers to concepts that continue to exist within a body of law for historical reasons, but are otherwise unnecessary if not detrimental to the analysis and practising of the law. In particular, this chapter focuses on four dimensions of the law of negligence in order to showcase the need to streamline the legal process and modernize the system—the duty of care, the assumption of liability, the scope of liability, and causal contribution. The case examples mentioned under each category illustrate certain legal ‘dead weights’ that bog down the processing of professional negligence issues, making it clear that more rational limits must be imposed on liability, and that a more transparent revision of negligence law can prove beneficial for both lawyer and client in the long term.

Keywords:   legal hangovers, law of negligence, duty of care, liability, causal contribution, professional negligence, rational limits

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