2 types of defamation, nuisance and defences to liability in Tort
A tort can simply be define as a wrong for which the victims entitled to a redress
Liability in tort arises from the breach of a duty fix by law which is repressible by an action for damages.
Defamation: It is the publication of a statement which tends to lower or reduce the reputation of somebody in the eyes of right thinking person of the society, who might as a result of the statement turn to avoid the company of the defamed person.
For defamation to arise, the statement published must:
- Lower the reputation of the defamed person in the eyes of right thinking persons in the society.
- Cause such persons to avoid the defamed person
Libel: This is a defamatory statement made in a permanent form e.g. can be in the form of a picture, cartoon exposed to view
Slander: this is a defamatory statement made by way of spoken words or gesture.
The different between a libel and a slander is that a libel appeals to the eye while a slander appeals to the ear
Nuisance can be described as disturbance of quiet enjoyment. Nuisance will constitute offensive smells from premises use for keeping animals, noise from industrial installation. For something to be consider as nuisance, it must have been consistence for a long period of time. There are two types of nuisance: public and private nuisance.
Public nuisance: this is nuisance that affect the entire public or community and only a collective action can sue against this type of nuisance.
Private nuisance: this nuisance affecting a private individual and only that individual can sue for this type of nuisance.
Trespass: Trespass involves injury cause on land, property and persons. Here we shall focus on injuries cause on persons.
Battery: It is the intentional application of force on the body of another person
Assault: it is the act of the defendant that put the plaintive in an atmosphere of fear
Force imprisonment: It is the unlawful infliction of bodily restrain of a person
Negligence: it is a breach of a duty of care. For negligence to be actionable in law, the plaintive must proof the following:
That the defendant owes him a duty of care
The defendant was in breach of this duty
As a result of the breach, the plaintive suffer some damages
GENERAL DEFENCES TO LIABILITY IN TORT
- Volenti nonfat injuria( consent); A defendant in a tort action may claim that the plaintive concerted to the act which cause him the harm h is complaining against example, a patient who consented to a lawful surgical operation will not succeed in an action in tort because the doctor will raise the defend of consent.
- Mistakes: a mistake is not a general defense to a liability in tort. It can only be a defense if the defendant can proof that any other person face with the same situation would have acted in the same way or done the same thing like he did. When we talk about mistakes, we are talking about mistakes to certain fact and not mistakes relating to law. This because ignorant to the law is not an excuse.
Mistakes therefore here will mean a reasonable man would have done the same
- Act of God( False majeur): the defendant can rely on this defend if he can proof that the harm cause by him to the plaintive come as a result of natural causes without any human intervention.
- Act of necessity: this can be a defense provided It does not arise because of the defendant negligence. For example pulling down a house on fire to prevent the fire from spreading to a neighboring property is an act of necessity.
- Respect of statutory authority: the law may authorize an act which will constitute a tort. Any plaintive who brings an action in this wise will fail because the defendant was acting or authorize by law.
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