Damage in the Law of Negligence

Evening Lecture

Presented by Professor Donal Nolan

Although the requirement of damage is often described as the ‘gist’ of the tort of negligence, it has generally been under-emphasised by common lawyers. The purpose of this lecture was to shine a little light on this dark corner of the law of negligence, and to demonstrate that when we turn our gaze onto this element of the cause of action a multitude of important and often difficult questions are revealed. In the first part of the lecture some general observations will be made about the damage concept. And in the second part of the lecture the focus shifted to some topical issues concerning the damage requirement that have been the subject of recent litigation in apex courts across the common law world.

Donal Nolan is Professor of Private Law in the University of Oxford and Francis Reynolds and Clarendon Fellow and Tutor in Law at Worcester College, Oxford. He was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, and previously worked at King’s College London. He has held Visiting Professorships in the Universities of Florida and Trento, and is a Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne, a member of the International Advisory Panel for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Fourth, Property, and an articles editor of the Modern Law Review. Donal’s research interests lie in tort and contract, and he has published on a wide range of topics within those fields, although his primary current focus is on the law of negligence, the law of private nuisance, and the interplay between tort and public law.