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How is tort different from other legal liabilities?

The Distinction of tort with different legal liabilities:

The distinction between 'Tort' and 'Crime'

Tort differs both in principle and procedure from a crime and there are basic differences between a tort and a crime which are as follows -

  • First, based on nature of wrong-

A tort is a private wrong. Private wrong is the infringement of the civil rights of an individual. It is comparatively less serious and labeled as a civil wrong, whereas a crime is a public wrong. A Public wrong is a violation or breach of rights and duties which affect the community, as a whole. It is a more serious wrong.

  • Second, based on nature of remedy-

The remedy in-law of tort damages, whereas the remedy in crime is punishment

  • Third, based on parties to suits,

In the case of tort, the suit is filed by an injured or aggrieved party whereas In the case of crime the complaint is filed in the name of State.

  • Fourth based on withdrawal of suits,

In case of tort, the suit can be withdrawn at any time and compromise can be done with the wrongdoer, whereas In the case of crime the complaint cannot be withdrawn except in certain circumstances.

  • Fifth based on codification,

There is no codification in Law of Torts whereas Criminal law is codified.

  • Sixth based on the bar of limitation,

There is a bar of limitation of prosecution in Law of torts whereas There is no bar of limitation of prosecution in crime.

  • Seventh based on survival of action-

In case of death of tort-Feasor his legal representative can be sued except when the tort is defamation, personal injury not causing a death whereas, In case of death of the offender, the suit is put to an end.

  • Eighth based on the application of the law-

There is no separate statute that deals with tort. A tort is based on judicial decisions whereas the crimes are dealt with in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

  • Ninth based on intention-

In tort, The intention is important but not in all cases, for example, in cases of negligence whereas in crime, Intention is the crux of the offense.

Despite these differences, the injunction may be granted in tort as well as in crime. Various wrongs fall under the law of torts as well as under criminal law, for example, Assault, Defamation, Negligence, Nuisance, and Conspiracy.

The distinction between Tort and Breach of Contract:

  • First based on fixation of duty-

In tort, the duty is fixed by the law itself, in contract, the duty is fixed by the party themselves.

  • Second, based on the attribution of duty-In tort, the duty is towards every person of the community or society whereas, In contract law, the duty is towards a specific person or persons.

  • Third, based on violation of rights-

A tort is a violation of a right in rem (that is, a right vested in some determinate person and available against the world at large) whereas A breach of contract is an infringement of a 'right in personam' (that is, of a right available only against some determinate person or party.

  • Fourth based on the need for privity-

In an action for tort, no Privity is needed or is required to be proved whereas, In a breach of contract, Privity between the parties must be proved.

  • Fifth based on motive-

In tort, the motive is often taken into account whereas In breach of contract motive is not relevant.

  • Sixth based on damages,

In tort, the measure of damages is different in different circumstances which may be nominal or exemplary, whereas, In Breach of contract, damages are awarded in the form of compensation for pecuniary loss suffered.

  • Seventh based on the suit by the third party-

A third party can sue for a tort even though there was no contract between the person causing injury and the person injured whereas A third party to a contract cannot sue for breach of contract except in some exceptional cases.

  • Eighth based on intention-

The intention is sometimes taken into consideration whereas Intention, in case of breach of contract, is of no relevance.

  • Ninth based on concern-

The Law of tort is concerned with losses whereas Contract law is concerned with promises.

  • Tenth based on the period of limitations-

Limitation begins to run from the date when damages occur whereas Limitation commences when the breach of obligation takes place.

Distinction between Tort and Breach of Trust:

  • First based on damages-

Damages in a tort are unliquidated whereas Damages in breach of trust are liquidated.

  • Second, based on origin-

Law of torts has its origin as part of common law whereas Breach of trust could be redressed in the court of Chancery.

  • Third based on the law of property

Law of tort is not regarded as a division of the law of property whereas Law of trust can be and is regarded as a division of the law of property.

Distinction between Tort and Quasi-Contract

When a person gains some advantage or benefit to which some other person was entitled to, or by such advantage another person suffers an undue loss, the law may compel the former to compensate the latter in respect of advantage so gained, even though there is no such contract. The law of quasi-contracts covers such obligations.

  • First based on damages-

A claim for damages under the law of tort is always for an unliquidated sum of money whereas A claim for damages is for a liquidated sum of money.

  • Second, based on the attribution of duty-

Under the law of torts the duty is towards persons generally whereas, In a quasi-contract, the duty is always towards a particular person.

The common point between tort and quasi-contract is that the duty in each case is imposed by the law. However, in certain cases, where a tort has been committed, the injured party has a choice of not bringing an action for damages in tort, but of suing the wrongdoer in quasi-contract to recover the value of the benefit obtained by the wrongdoer. When the injured party elects to sue in quasi-contract instead of a tort, he is said to have 'waived the tort'.

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