Course Title: Law of torts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2014

Course Code: LAW5183

Course Title: Law of torts

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Paul Ryan - Course co-ordinator

RMIT University
Building 80, Level 5
Tel:  9925 5466


Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

Course Description

The purpose of this module is to provide a detailed knowledge and skills in the Law of Torts as might be relevant for a person engaged in the operation of a legal office, or associated fields in the public or corporate sectors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20107 Law of torts

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse the term “tort”, determine those affected by the law of tort and assess the aims and rationale behind the law of tort.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Determine and specify the nature and meaning of the term tort.
1.2 Examine the historic origins of tort law.
1.3 Distinguish tort from crime, breach of contract, trust or other obligations.
1.4 Examine the nature of the interests protected by the law of torts.
1.5 Analyse the aims and rationale of the law of tort and discuss the need for statutory intervention.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse the elements of negligence, determine possible defences to a negligence action and examine damages recoverable in a negligence action
Assessment criteria
2.1 Define the term negligence and analyse its concepts.
2.2 Examine possible defences to a negligence action.
2.3 Evaluate means of proving negligence including burden of proof, standard of proof, the use of expert evidence and application of the res ipsa loquitur concept.
2.4 Examine the nature of damages that may be obtained in a negligence action.
2.5 Analyse legislative limits on negligence actions including thresholds, limitation periods and reduced liability in defined circumstances

Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse issues relating to particular categories of negligence.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Define and specify the principles of occupier’s liability. Examine and evaluate the provisions of the occupier’s liability provisions of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).
3.2 Examine the circumstances in which there can be liability for negligent misstatement causing economic loss.
3.3 Analyse the principle of vicarious liability.
3.4 Specify the circumstances in which there can be liability for negligently inflicted purely psychological harm in the absence of physical injury.
3.5 Identify the legal principles relating to liability for harm caused by defective products including the provision of Part VA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth).

Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse principles of strict liability.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Determine the principles of strict liability.
4.2 Compare strict liability with fault based liability.
4.3 Analyse the available defences to a strict liability claim.
4.4 Consider, as an example, liability for animals under the Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994 (Vic).

Learning Outcome 5 - Analyse and evaluate the various no-fault compensation schemes currently operating in Victoria and the Commonwealth.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Explore the history and basis of the statutory schemes.
5.2 Analyse the no-fault scheme regarding injury arising from a transport accident.
5.3 Evaluate and specify the current compensation schemes for employment related injuries or diseases, both in Victoria and the Commonwealth.
5.4 Identify when common law remedies remain available in transport and employment related situations.
5.5 Evaluate the problems arising from the statutory schemes and investigate the advantages and disadvantages of the schemes.

Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse the law relating to the intentional tort of trespass to the person.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Define the term assault and identify its elements in tort law.
6.2 Define the nature of battery and identify its elements in tort law.
6.3 Define false imprisonment and identify its elements in tort law.
6.4 Identify the elements of intentionally causing harm in tort law.
6.5 Evaluate the possible defences to trespass to the person.

Learning Outcome 7 - Analyse the elements of torts designed to protect interests in land.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Examine the elements of and defences to the intentional tort of trespass to land.
7.2 Analyse the tort of private nuisance and distinguish from the tort of public nuisance.
7.3 Identify the remedies available for interference with interests in land.

Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse and assess intentional torts relating to interference with interests in goods.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Differentiate between the elements of the torts of trespass to goods, conversion and detinue and identify the respects in which these torts overlap.
8.2 Examine the nature of the remedies available to a successful plaintiff in trespass to goods, conversion and detinue.

Learning Outcome 9 - Analyse, evaluate and specify the elements of defamation, analyse the possible defences to a defamation action and developments in relation to protection of privacy.
Assessment criteria
9.1 Analyse the relevant principles of defamation law.
9.2 Evaluate and define the elements of defamation.
9.3 Identify and outline the defences to a defamation action at common law and in legislation.
9.4 Determine the possible remedies to a defamation action:
       • Types of damages
       • Injunction
       • Impact of an apology and offers to make amends
9.5 Examine the developments in relation to the protection of privacy.

Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning experiences are planned for this course including class and online activities, group problem solving and group debates.

Teaching Schedule

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

• Program overview and requirements
• MyRMIT/Blackboard
• Overview of assessment requirements
• Pre-Training Review including:
  o Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
  o Assessment of current skills and knowledge
• Competency/Grading Criteria
• Plagiarism
• Appeals
• Extensions
• Feedback
• Privacy
• Submission requirements
• Resubmission policy
• Where to get support
• Student responsibilities
The nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.




Assessment Tasks

17th July

Introduction to the Course including:
• Course requirements
• Course support documents
• Course Blackboard access
• Accuracy of enrolment
• Assessment requirements/Cover Sheets
• Plagiarism
• Appeals
• Submission requirements
• Extensions/Resubmissions
• Feedback in this course
• Getting help

Nature, sources of tort law Classification of torts.

214th July Assault and battery 
321st July

 False imprisonment.


428th JulyTorts relating to Land – trespass and nuisance Case Study (20 marks) due in this week 
54th Aug Torts relating to goods. 
611th Aug

 Defences and remedies for intentional torts


718th  Aug Defamation class 
825th Aug  In class open book test In class test (30 marks) In class test (30 marks)
   1-7 September -  Mid Semester break
98th Sep

 Classes on negligence start – duty of care

1015th Sep

 Breach of duty of care


1122nd Sep

 Causation & remoteness


1229th Sep

 Defences and types of damage.


136th Oct

 Liability for defective goods, occupier’s liability & vicarious liability

1413th Oct

 Statutory compensation schemes

1520st Oct Revision 
1627th Oct In class Final Test (Open Book) (50 marks) Final Test (Open Book)

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Davis, Julia Connecting with Torts Law (Oxford) 2011


Mendelson, Danuta The New Law of Torts 2nd edition (Oxford)
Davies + Malkin, Torts 6th ed ( Butterworths Tutorial Series)
McGlone + Stickley Australian Torts Law 2nd ed –– Butterworths 2008

Other Resources

It is recommended that you have access to a mobile computing device to allow greater flexibility in terms of where you can work on campus outside class times.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks, and may include:

•  written tests
•  class discussion
•  case study analysis
•  assignments

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evidence is required:

• examine the origin, nature, aims and rationale of Tort Law
• analyse Tort Law in all its forms, both historical and contemporary, and as it applies to and is delivered by Australian courts today
• research and analyse precedent in Tort Law to arrive at an effective courtroom strategy
• analyse the statutory instances of Tort Law

In order to pass this course you must successfully complete the 3 assessment tasks:

Assessment Task 1 - Case Study (see “Assignments” on myRMIT Studies) where you are asked a series of questions relating to a case or cases concerning assault, battery, wrongful imprisonment and damages, being topics covered in the classes in weeks 2 and 3. You have to submit typed answers by your class in week 4 and you will be marked out of 20. 
Due Date:
Week 4
Submission Procedure:  Hand in to your teacher

The purpose of this assessment is to give you experience of reading relevant cases on topics you are studying and to look for important matters relevant to studying any decided cases.

Assessment Task 2 - Assessment 2 is an open book test in the classes in week 8 where you will have to answer 2 out of a choice of 3 questions on the topics covered in weeks 2-6.  The time allocated is 90 minutes plus 15 minutes reading time.  The test is open book assessed out of 30 marks. 
Due Date:  Week 8
Submission Procedure: Open book test done in class

The purpose of this assessment is to apply your knowledge of torts topics  to given fact situations.

Assessment Task 3 - final open book test worth 50 marks scheduled for week 15 or 16 where you will probably have to answer 3 major questions in 2 hours plus reading time.
Due Date: week 16.
Submission Procedure:  Open book test  on negligence topics.

The purpose of this assessment is to apply the principles of negligence law to given fact situations.


Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions.  You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed.  Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.

Assessment Matrix

Marking Guide:

You will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you how well you are performing.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100HDHigh Distinction
DNSDNSDid Not Submit for assessment

Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:
• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date:
   • If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for extensions of time. (Please refer to the information in the Late Submission Procedure section below)
   • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (hard copy and soft copy).
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration
and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for
assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for
assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on
• Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment,
unit code and title and page numbers.

Late Submission Procedures

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
  More Information:
  Form to use:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information:;ID=g43abm17hc9w
Form to use:

If you fail an assessment  you will be allowed one resubmission only.  Your teacher will provide feedback regarding what you need to do to improve and will set a new deadline for the resubmission. The highest grade you will receive if your resubmission is successful is Pass.  If you are still not meeting the assessment requirements you must apply to your Program Manager in writing outlining the steps you will take to demonstrate competence in your course. Your submission will be considered by the Program Team and you will be advised of the outcome as soon as possible.

Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment.  For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information:;ID=kehn9bz22r41

Course Overview: Access Course Overview