Advanced Torts

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Emmanuel Voyiakis

Additional Teachers: Professor Charlie Webb, Dr Rachel Leow and Dr Timothy Liau


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 seminars totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Autumn Term and Winter Term. This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Autumn Term and Winter 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: (try to consult their latest edition but earlier ones will probably do)
  • W E Peel & J Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort;
  • N J McBride & R Bagshaw, Tort Law;
  • B A Hepple et als., Hepple and Matthews’ Tort Law: Cases and Materials;
  • S Deakin, A Johnston & B Markesinis, Markesinis and Deakin’s Tort Law.

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 and 30 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 27

Average class size 2022/23: 27

Capped 2022/23: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills