Category Archives: Causation

Smillie, Eccleston-Turner and Cooper, ‘C-621/15 – W And Others v Sanofi Pasteur: An Example of Judicial Distortion and Indifference to Science’

Abstract This case commentary examines the CJEU’s recent decision in C-621/15 W and Others v Sanofi Pasteur MSD SNC [2017] ECR I. This commentary critically examines the decision through the lens of the cultural conflict between law and science. We argue that the CJEU’s decision reflects both a distortion of scientific knowledge and an improper […]

Emmanuel Voyiakis, ‘Causation and Opportunity in Tort’

Abstract This article shows that we can approach both ‘epistemic’ and ‘conceptual’ problems of causation in tort with the aid of a moral idea sketched out by HLA Hart and developed into a more general account by TM Scanlon. Applied to causation, that idea is that we may justify principles that require people to meet […]

Nicholas Hooper, ‘The Phenomenology of Medico-Legal Causation’

Abstract: The language of counterfactual causation employed from the bench obscures the analytical vacuity of the ‘but for’ test. This paper takes issue with the consistent recourse to ‘common sense’ as a methodological tool for determining the deeply complex issue of causality. Despite manifestly empty gestures to, eg, robust pragmatism, the current approach imposes the […]

Barbara Billauer, ‘The Causal Conundrum: Examining the Medical-Legal Disconnect in Toxic Tort Cases from a Cultural Perspective or How the Law Swallowed the Epidemiologist and Grew Long Legs and a Tail’

Abstract: The literature regarding the law-epidemiologic disconnect in causal proof is vast, non-conclusive and partisan. Some favor weakening the plaintiff’s burden in cases of ambiguous causation (when we don’t have enough objective scientific proof), even if bastardizing scientific requisites is necessary. Scientific purists, of course, object. Some suggest crafting novel legal causes of action, such […]

Lando and Schweizer, ‘Causality and Incentives with Multiple Tortfeasors’

Abstract: For a tortfeasor to be liable for a victim’s loss, the tortfeasor’s negligence must have caused the loss. In the context of multiple tortfeasors, this is generally taken to mean that but-for the tortfeasors negligence, the loss would not have occurred, given the acts by other tortfeasors. In the law and economics literature on […]

‘Rethinking Actual Causation in Tort Law’

“The concept of causation is central to myriad areas of tort law: a defendant commits simple battery only if she ‘intentionally causes bodily contact’ with another; she trespasses only if she ‘intentionally enters or causes tangible entry upon the land in possession of another’; she is liable for negligence only if she ‘causes personal injury […]

Shahar Dillbary, ‘Sharing Externalities: The Surprising Value of Agreements to Commit Torts’

Abstract: This article focuses on agreements to commit or induce the commission of a tort. Examples include an agreement between factories to use a production process that would pollute a lake, or an agreement where one entices another to publish a false statement by promising to share the cost of the injury. Such agreements are […]

Lachlan Caunt, ‘Hows, Whys, and But-Fors: Theorizing, Comparing, and Solution Finding within the Principle of Material Contribution to Risk in the Law of Negligence’

Abstract: Material contribution to risk is a principle of tort causation; yet has never been applied. It may potentially violate all of the principles that underpin tort causation, whatever those principles may be. Alternately, it may simply be another conventional adaptation of tort causation to avoid manifest injustice. The supposition is that it will fall […]

Lachlan Caunt, ‘Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say: Rebuilding the Building Blocks of But-For Causation’

Abstract: What does ‘causation’ actually mean? Is saying that an act ‘caused’ an outcome linked to an observable notion of cause and effect; or is such a statement based upon supposition and guesswork? This early draft article begins to break down and rebuild the term ‘causation’, and what is required to ‘prove’ a causal link […]

Anthony Sebok, ‘Actual Causation in the Second and Third Restatements: Or, the Expulsion of the Substantial Factor Test’

Abstract: This chapter contrasts the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Liability for Physical Harm’s Chapter Five (on Factual Cause) and Chapter Six (on Scope of Liability) with the treatment of causation in the Restatement (Second) of Torts’ Chapter 16 (‘Legal Cause’). It was written for a book on causation in both common law and civilian jurisdictions. […]