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Sceptical Essays on Human Rights$
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Tom Campbell, Keith Ewing, and Adam Tomkins

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246687

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246687.001.0001

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Tort Law and the Human Rights Act

Tort Law and the Human Rights Act

(p.243) 13 Tort Law and the Human Rights Act
Sceptical Essays on Human Rights

Conor Gearty

Oxford University Press

In the United Kingdom, the judges have long been engaged in the discharge of functions of a legislative as well as of a judicial character. Indeed, the responsibility of the English judges for the formulation and development of the common law predates both the establishment of Britain in its present form and the entrenchment of a democratic form of government within the nation's borders. In the 20th century, the ‘evolution’ of the tort of negligence alone saw a great expansion in the liability of property owners, public officials, and others for actions and/or omissions that could be retrospectively characterised as negligent by the courts. This chapter discusses the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights which, when viewed together with the Strasbourg case law, demonstrate why it is likely that the Act will have such a large impact on tort law. Some obstacles that lie in the way of a coherent reception of the Human Rights Act into UK law are also considered.

Keywords:   tort law, Human Rights Act 1998, United Kingdom, European Convention on Human Rights, common law, negligence, liability

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