Western Law

Tort Law Research Group

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The Tort Law Research Group was founded in 2010 to consolidate Western's reputation as a leader in the study of tort law. Western has a long tradition of tort law scholarship: Professor Emeritus GHL Fridman is a pioneer in the study of Canadian tort law, with a career extending back 40 years and continuing to the present. Currently, one-quarter of all Western Law faculty teach and publish in the area of tort law, including a leading treatise, The Law of Torts in Canada, and a leading casebook, Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts. Western Law hosted an international conference in 2006 that led to the publication of Emerging Issues in Tort Law, and hosted the Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations in July 2012. During the academic year, the Tort Law Research Group hosts a series of public lectures as well as more informal lunchtime research seminars. Group members publish in diverse areas, including economic torts, public authority liability, tort law theory, tort law and health care, and tort liability for climate change. Finally, Western Law offers a number of torts-related undergraduate courses, and faculty members welcome thesis proposals from interested graduate students.

Recent News and Events

Clarifying Causation for the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association

On October 20, 2014, Professor Stephen G.A. Pitel delivered a talk entitled "Clarifying Causation" as part of the annual Fall Conference of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, held in Toronto. He discussed the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada's decisions in Clements v Clements and Ediger v Johnston and facilitated the discussion of hypothetical scenarios designed to illuminate how the law may have changed.

TLRG at Seventh Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations

On July 15-18 2014, three members of the Tort Law Research Group, Erika Chamberlain, Jason Neyers, and Zoë Sinel, presented papers at the Seventh Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations (Obligations VII): The Common Law of Obligations: Divergence and Convergence, held at Hong Kong University. Read more

Western Law Garners Funding Success

Professors Jason Neyers (pictured left), Andrew Botterell, Erika Chamberlain, Stephen Pitel and Zoe Sinel have been awarded a $16,000 "Bridge Grant" from Western's internal SSHRC support program to conduct a one year project titled "Rights and Tort Law: A Canadian Perspective". Read more

Western Hosts Annual Private Law Theory Workshop

On April 25, 2014 Western hosted the fifth annual Private Law Theory Workshop. This year marked a change to the usual format of the Workshop.  Rather than address a variety of subjects, the Workshop’s participants selected a theme – a doctrine, a book, a particular issue in private law theory – for careful discussion and analysis. The doctrine of estoppel was well-chosen as the inaugural theme, providing the subject matter for insightful papers and rigorous debate. Western’s Dennis Klimchuk spearheaded the organization of this year’s workshop and shared some of his current scholarship on the field of estoppel in a paper entitled, “State Estoppel,” that questioned whether states, like individuals, are sometimes blocked from exercising rights they have, as a result of something they have said or done. The Workshop was attended by private law scholars from the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and McGill University, as well as three members of the Tort Law Research Group: Jason Neyers, Erika Chamberlain, and Zoë Sinel.

Stevens Lectures on Causation and Contribution

Robert Stevens, the Herbert Smith Freehills Professor of English Private Law at University of Oxford, delivered the year’s second Tort Law Research Group public lecture on March 19, 2014.  Speaking to an audience of students and faculty members, Professor Stevens carefully and vividly explained the difference between causation and contribution and the role that each play in the law’s assessing of responsibility. Read more

Chamberlain at Osgoode Professional Development's Tenth Annual Crown Liability Symposium

On February 11, 2014, Erika Chamberlain presented “Misfeasance in a Public Office: Ten Years Since Odhavji Estate v Woodhouse” at Osgoode Professional Development’s  Tenth Annual Crown Liability Symposium in Toronto. Chamberlain addressed developments in the decade since the Supreme Court of Canada provided a modern restatement of this unique tort. She noted that, although the tort has been pleaded with increasing frequency, the number of successful cases remains small. Chamberlain also discussed the interaction of misfeasance in a public office with the tort of negligence, and explained that misfeasance may be available in some situations where the negligence action is struck out for lack of proximity or on account of “core policy” immunity. This occurred in two Ontario Court of Appeal cases, Granite Power v Ontario (2004) and Trillium Power v Ontario (2013). In both cases, the alleged bad faith on the government’s part was sufficient to ground an action in misfeasance.

Clarifying Causation for the Middlesex Law Association

On December 4, 2013, Professor Stephen G.A. Pitel delivered a talk entitled "Clarifying Causation" as part of the Seventh Annual Personal Injury Conference hosted by the Middlesex Law Association.  He discussed the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada's decisions in Clements v Clements and Ediger v Johnston and facilitated group discussion of three hypothetical scenarios designed to illuminate how the law may have changed.

Bublick Lectures on Creation of Risk and the Duty of Care

On October 29, 2013, Ellen Bublick, the Dan B. Dobbs Professor of Law at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, delivered the opening Tort Law Research Group public lecture for the 2013-14 academic year. Speaking to an audience of students and faculty members, Professor Bublick provided a useful overview and analysis of the American approach to analyzing duties of care in negligence. Read more

TLRG at North American Workshop in Private Law Theory

On October 4-5, 2013, Professor Zoë Sinel participated in the inaugural meeting of the North American Workshop in Private Law Theory (NAWPLT) at McGill University. Professor Sinel’s paper, entitled “The Nature of Self-Help,” explored a heretofore underdeveloped area of private law theory and doctrine: the remedial actions parties may undertake independent of the direct participation of legal institutions. Read more

Understanding Public Nuisance

Professor Jason Neyers has been doing extensive research in tort law in the area of public nuisance. The traditional understanding of public nuisance is that it is catch all tort, modelled on section 80 of the Criminal Code of Canada that protects the public from interferences with its safety, health, property or comfort. Neyers’ project reconceptualizes public nuisance as a more manageable, distinctive and focused tort that exists to protect everyone’s exercise of his or her public rights. Read more

Tort Law: Challenging Orthodoxy Published

Professors Stephen GA Pitel, Jason W Neyers and Erika Chamberlain are the editors of a new international tort law collection, Tort Law: Challenging Orthodoxy. The chapters in this book were originally presented at Western in July 2012 at the Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations.

Legate & Associates LLP Renews Sponsorship of Public Lectures

The Tort Law Research Group is pleased to announce that the London firm of Legate & Associates LLP has renewed its sponsorship of its public lectures for the 2013-14 academic year. [Read more]

Zoë Sinel Joins Tort Law Research Group

As of July 2013, Zoë Sinel has been appointed an Assistant Professor at Western Law and has joined the Tort Law Research Group. [Read more]

Neyers at International Remedies Forum

On June 10-11, 2013, Professor Jason Neyers participated in the eighth International Remedies Discussion Forum in Prato, Italy. The goal of the forum was to bring together a small group of prominent remedies scholars from the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, Africa and Europe to discuss matters of common interest from a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional perspective. [Read more]

Tort Law CLE for Middlesex Law Association

On May 23, 2013, Professor Stephen Pitel outlined some key recent tort law developments at the Middlesex Law Association's annual civil litigation conference in London, attended by approximately 100 lawyers and judges. These included Clements v Clements on the test for factual causation, Antrim Truck Centre Ltd v Ontario (Transportation) on the requirements for private law nuisance, and Loychuk v Cougar Mountain Adventures on the enforceability of a liability waiver.

Western Law Scholars Present Papers at Private Law Theory Workshop

On April 19-20, 2013 three members of the Tort Law Research Group presented papers at the fourth annual Private Law Theory Workshop, this year hosted by Queen’s University.  The continued success of the Workshop illustrates the academic interest in private law theory for scholars based in central Canada. (Read more)

Solomon Named Distinguished University Professor

Professor Robert Solomon, leading scholar and senior author of Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts, has been named a Distinguished University Professor at Western University. [Read more]

Weinrib Lectures on 'Causal Uncertainty' in Tort Law

Ernest Weinrib, the Cecil A. Wright Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, delivered the second Tort Law Research Group public lecture for the 2012-13 academic year on March 4. Professor Weinrib offered an approach to resolving some of the common law's more difficult problems in the law of causation in tort. [Read more]

Western Law faculty, staff and students may view Professor Weinrib's lecture on the Tort Law Research Group's Sakai Site.

Neyers Presents at King's College London

On December 14, 2012, Professor Jason Neyers presented a paper entitled, "The Moral Basis of Public Nuisance" at the Moral Values and Private Law conference hosted by King's College London. [Read more]

New Edition of Fridman Text Published

LexisNexis has recently published the third edition of Gerald Fridman, QC's Introduction to the Canadian Law of Torts. The text, written for both students and practitioners, provides a concise overview of the law of torts in Canada. It provides a general framework of basic tort law principles and dedicated chapters on specific torts. It includes new material on remedies, vicarious liability, and invasion of privacy.

Developing Tort Law at an Intermediate Appellate Court

On November 5, 2012, Justice Robert Sharpe of the Court of Appeal for Ontario delivered the first Tort Law Research Group public lecture for the 2012-13 academic year. [Read more]

Neyers Speaks on Injurious Affection

On October 4, 2012, Professor Jason Neyers provided a keynote address on injurious affection at the Ontario Expropriation Association London 2012 Reception. [Read more]

Klimchuk Co-organizes Conference on the Rule of Law and Private Law

On September 21-22, 2012, the University of Toronto hosted an innovative conference to consider the extent to which the rule of law has implications for the content of private law. [Read more]

Legate & Associates LLP Sponsors Public Lectures for 2012-13

The Tort Law Research Group is proud to announce that the London firm of Legate & Associates LLP will be sponsoring the Public Lecture series in 2012-13. [Read more]

Western Law Hosts Obligations VI Conference

From June 17-20, Western Law was pleased to host the Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations, with the theme of "Challenging Orthodoxy." [Read more]

Neyers Speaks to Oxford Obligations Discussion Group

On June 4, 2012, Professor Jason Neyers gave an invited lecture entitled "Re-conceptualizing the Tort of Public Nuisance" at the University of Oxford. [Read more]

Paisley Snail International Conference

Professor Chamberlain was among the speakers at the Paisley Snail International Conference, held in Paisley Scotland, to mark the 80th anniversary of the decision inDonoghue v Stevenson on May 26. [Read more]

Tort Law Developments Discussed with Middlesex Law Association

On May 24, 2012, Professor Stephen Pitel was an invited speaker at the Middlesex Law Association's Annual "Straight from the Bench" conference in London. He reviewed the most significant tort law decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario over the past year. [Read more]

Private Law Theory Workshop

Three members of the Tort Law Research Group recently presented papers at the annual Private Law Theory Workshop, hosted by the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. [Read more]