Course Title: Law of torts

Part A: Course Overview

Program: C6106 Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Title: Law of torts

Portfolio: BUS Portfolio Office

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.

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


650T Vocational Business Education

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face or Internet or Workplace

Term1 2011,
Term1 2012,
Term1 2013,
Term2 2013,
Term2 2014,
Term1 2015,
Term2 2015,
Term1 2016

Course Contact: Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact Email:

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.

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

National Competency Codes and Titles

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.

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.