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This topic covers negligence as well as contributory negligence.

Negligence is a " tort ' which provides you with a cause of action to sue someone in a Civil Court if they have caused you damage through their carelessness. 

But there are a lot of legal rules to look at first.

We think that the Law of Torts is an exciting subject.

A "tort" is a civil cause of action which allows a Plaintiff to bring a claim against a Defendant in a civil court for damages for civil wrongdoing.

Many text books spend chapters trying to define the word "tort". It came from the French language meaning "wrong" and was brought to the English system after the Norman (French) invasion over a thousand years ago.

It is difficult to provide an exact definition but the Law of Torts is concerned with the civil factual situations where the conduct or behaviour of one citizen causes harm to or invades a property or space or interests of another person.

The Law of Torts provides a body of rules or causes of action which allow one person to sue another in a civil court for damages.


We suggest that you visit our Index Site entitled Cause of Action to give you a general overview of established legal principles which allow you to sue people if you have suffered damage.


We also suggest that you seek out from the library a very worthwhile text book on the law of torts in New Zealand which is the third edition of Todd intitled The Law of Torts in New Zealand.


The category of torts is not closed. Even though we are into the 21st century the Courts are always willing to develop a further tort or wrongdoing capable of sustaining a claim for damages.

We shall see how Internet fraud or Internet privacy invasion develops into a tort.

We have seen in modern times the tort of breach of privacy being developed.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 has allowed for the basis for a number of new torts if damages have been caused by a breach of those citizens’ rights contained in that Act.

It is only a mere 70 years since the tort of negligence (carelessness) was developed.


Accordingly, although the concept of an action in tort (often known as a tortious action) has been around for a long time, the law is still able to develop new causes of action in tort in modern times.


You can sue in tort in any of our courts.


For actions un

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"I found this interesting. I want to sue for punitive damages and I was interested to learn that our courts are pretty conservative. I think the Welfare have quite wrongly taken my kids and I have found out that the affidavit they gave to a Judge to get an order to uplift them was known to the Welfare to be incorrect. They told the Judge that I had drug convictions but when I found out 5 months ago that they thought that I proved then to them that this was untrue yet I have now found that they have still put this false evidence in an affidavit. But they have also told other people about my "drug convictions". You have to watch these people. (name witheld) - May 2007"
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"My neighbour had her bag snatched in the main st of Papakura. Her insurance company will pay to get the locks replaced for her house but not for her car. I think this is extremely unfair as her car was not the target for the theft.

We agree . . . Insurances Companies are increasingly relying on small print and NOT saying at the time the insurance is taken out that a car insurance does NOT cover items pinched from inside the car, and, in this case, obviously consider that the car is not similar to the house. It is best to get your Policy and sit down with an Insurance Company Rep. and try and discuss every little thing that could arise for which you would like to have coverage. - Netlaw"

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"can i make a complaint if a barrister acting for an applicant for child custody completely and utterly overrides and ignores sworn affidavits by the respondent bulldozes her ignorance through the family court and is so negilent she gets away with it we are at a loss how this can happen how can we have our allegations investigated??"
"Hi Netlaw, I am not sure if this is the right place to ask the following but here goes:

My brother is looking for the best possible family court/criminal lawyer/solicitor that legal aid can buy. He’s looking for a lawyer who will go ‘all out’ for him, advocate strongly on his (and his children’s)behalf and provide desperately needed advice/counsel. This lawyer must also be willing, eager and able to take up a challenge and defend my brother against a breach of a protection order.

A big ask we know (especially since legal aid is mentioned), but we are hoping that some of you gentlemen may know of such lawyers? Or someone who knows someone who might? Is there a contact list, website etc of such lawyers/solicitors that you could direct us to please? We live in Wellington but will canvass New Zealand to find such a person.

We are is running out of time, hence this urgent plea to you all. We would be truly grateful if you can find the time to reply or point us in the right direction.

Many thanks in advance

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"I got so much from this site. You are right. It is better to "upskill" myself first before paying megabucks to a lawyer just to get an opinion.

I liked access to the case law and the real life submissions. Tim Shadbolt's case was a dag. How much did he get? Bud. Auckland"

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"Bastard Noise control officers! What can you do? I don't mind really noisy things being stopped but the officers don't seem to realise who is a genuine complainant and who is just a difficult neighbour.

Steve H. Auckland"

"Would you have any information or help on neighbour with a noisy car REVERSE parking his car with difficulty causing noise disturbance at night, Also may visitors of his boarders come up and down and the driveway at night causing a lot of car noise. Jon

Netlaw replies: A really difficult problem.

Traffic enforcement through the police will not get involved unless the noisy vehicle is being operated on a public road and, even then, prosecutions for a noisy vehicle usually relate to a specific matter such as a car with no exhaust.

Noise control officers with your local Council will find it very difficult to take steps because their powers do not involve prosecutions and punishments but rather involve steps to control noise at any one particular time.

Technically, you can bring a civil action in what is known as the tort of nuisance, but this is time-consuming and fairly costly and usually used only an industrial situations or in urban areas where a neighbour is running a workshop with electric machinery all hours of the night.

You are therefore left, in practical terms, only with approaching the neighbour, perhaps with the assistance of a third person mediator, to try and resolve the matter.

There are no cheap, quick and easy legal remedies apart from the matters referred to above.

Hope this short overview helps.


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"Great. See the other topics on Statement of Claim -Some Examples - Graeme - Tauranga"
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"A fun topic. I can remember when I was a lawyer's secretary. He had a wee figurine of a barrister on his desk with a sign on it saying "Sue The Bastards" but, then, he should know because he was a bastard too, but a very good lawyer. (name withheld)"
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