Advanced Torts

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Emmanouil Vogiakis

Additional Teachers: Dr Paul MacMahon, Dr Nick Sage and Dr Charlie Webb.


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is not available to General Course students.


Students must have completed Law of Obligations (LL104).

Course content

If you liked Obligations, you are going to love this. Advanced Torts aims to broaden and deepen your knowledge of tort law in two ways. First, we look at a range of important torts that are not covered in the Obligations course. Second, we tackle the ‘big’ theoretical questions of tort law. You will emerge from the course not only with a better understanding of the rules and principles that govern specific torts, but also with the ability to engage critically with different views about the overall purpose and the moral and social function of tort law.

Here are some topics we usually cover:

  • Theories of tort law: what is the aim of tort law, and do judges need a theory of it?
  • Corrective justice vs economic theories of tort law
  • Tort law, moral responsibility and luck
  • Tort law and the ‘compensation culture’
  • The position of public authorities in negligence
  • Tort actions for unwanted pregnancy/birth & children born with disabilities
  • Strict liability regimes: liability for ultra-hazardous activities; liability for defective products; the justification of strict liability.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year some or all of this teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus.  This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.

Formative coursework

At least one formative essay per term

Indicative reading

If all goes according to plan, the depth we will attain in the course and the focused nature of our reading lists for each topic will make textbooks redundant, or at least useful only as a basic introduction to the issues we will be covering. This means that the tort textbook you may have purchased for the LL104 Law of Obligations course will probably be good enough for our purposes. Here are some other introductory or general texts that you might like to consult from time to time, just to get a different perspective on things, and some more advanced or specialized books from which we will be setting reading for certain topics:

General Texts: W E Peel & J Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort (14th ed., 2014); N J McBride & R Bagshaw, Tort Law (4th ed., 2012); B A Hepple et als., Hepple and Matthews’ Tort Law: Cases and Materials (7th  ed., 2015); S Deakin, A Johnston & B Markesinis, Markesinis and Deakin’s Tort Law (7th ed, 2012).

Advanced/Specialised Texts: Arthur Ripstein, Private Wrongs (2016); Emmanuel Voyiakis, Private Law and the Value of Choice (2017); Ernest Weinrib, The Idea of Private Law (1995); David Owen (ed.), Philosophical Foundations of Tort Law (1997); Robert Stevens, Torts and Rights (2007); Jules Coleman, Risks and Wrongs (2002); Guido Calabresi, The Cost of Accidents: A Legal and Economic Analysis (1970); John Oberdiek, Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts (2014); Nicolette Priaulx, The Harm Paradox: Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice (2007).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 24

Average class size 2019/20: 24

Capped 2019/20: Yes (24)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills