John Murphy, ‘Malice as an Ingredient of Tort Liability’

This article is concerned with the question of whether malice is an appropriate touchstone of liability in tort law. It begins by identifying four torts in which malice may properly be regarded as an ingredient of liability (distinguishing various other torts, such as private nuisance and defamation, in which malice plays a merely secondary and contingent role). Having identified these four torts – namely malicious prosecution, abuse of process, misfeasance in a public office and lawful means conspiracy – the article then seeks to identify a common juridical thread which links them together. So doing serves to rebut the allegation, often made in respect of all them, namely, that they are anomalous actions. It then concludes by considering the individual worth of these torts, bearing in mind the important difference between not being anomalous on the one hand, and being positively meritorious on the other. It concludes that a respectable defence of each of the four torts can be made even though malice is an atypical touchstone of liability.

John Murphy, Malice As An Ingredient Of Tort Liability, Cambridge Law Journal, Published online: 10 May 2019.

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