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Law Notes Aspects Of Obligations Notes

Economic Torts Notes

Updated Economic Torts Notes

Aspects Of Obligations Notes

Aspects Of Obligations

Approximately 333 pages

Aspects Of Obligations notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. These notes cover all the major LLB aspects cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These notes were formed directly from a reading of the cases and main texts and are vigorous, concise and very well written. Everything is conveniently split up by topic as you can see by th...

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  1. Economic Torts

    1. PROCURING BREACH / Unlawful Means

      1. General

        1. The Two Torts

  • The two torts are [a] procuring breach of contract and [b] causing loss by unlawful means

    1. Procuring Breach of Contract

  • Lumley v Gye (1853) (HC) –opera singer X contracted to sing for C, but D made her sing for his theatre instead. D procured her breach of contract with C, thereby causing loss to C. Held that in order for the tort to be made out, D has to know of the existence of the contract and what its terms are (under normal circumstances the conduct would be acceptable). On the facts, D did not know of the contract so no liability

    • Howarth – at the time, breach of contracts by servants was a criminal offence so this may give the context as to why inducing somebody was regarded as being so bad

    1. Causing Loss by Unlawful Means

  • Allen v Flood (1898) (HL) –D told X that workers would stop working unless X stopped using C’s services. Since workers were not employees there was nothing to stop them just working away. X stopped using C’s services as a result of D’s pressure. C sued D for causing loss by unlawful means. Held that no wrong had been committed because no threats nor conspiracies were made by D. Therefore there was no unlawful means

    • Tarleton v M’Gawley (1790) (HC) –D and C were masters of boats. People from the shore came to trade with C, and every time this happened D fired canons to intimidate them. C could sue D, and this fits well under the unlawful means tort

    1. Abuse of Rights

      • Tuttle v Buck (1909) (USA) –banker drove a barber out of business by setting up a barbers shop and undercutting his prices. Held that he was liable for intentionally causing the economic loss

  • OBG v Allan (2007) (HL)Lord Nicholls – there is no liability for intentionally causing damage without using unlawful means in English law

    1. Unification of the Two Torts

      1. General

  • In the 20th Century, the courts tried to unify these two torts

    • Quinn v Leathem (1901) (HL) Lord Macnaghten –gist of Lumley v Gye is violation of a legal right, and such liability arises when interfering with contractual relations. This led to some confusion because it could be said that the dictum does not require a contract. Lord LindleyLumley v Gye not confined to breaches of contract –the principle is that all wrongful acts done intentionally to damage a particular individual are actionable

    • Mogul Steamship v McGregor (1889) (CA)Bowen LJ –lumped unlawful means and Lumley v Gye in the same category just because they are wrongful.

  • Seems wrong because just because they are ways of causing economic damage, doesn’t meant there is a single principle. In addition you could sometimes have liability for both

    1. Progression of the Unified Theory

      • GWK v Dunlop Rubber (1926) (HC) –X made motor cars and C made tyres. X had a deal with C whereby X would put C’s tyres on X’s cars and to show the cars at motor shows. The night before a motor show, D changed C’s tyres for D’s tyres. C tried to sue based on intentionally inducing breach of contract. Held that there was a violation of C’s legal rights (so X was in breach as to C) but no inducement

  • OBG v Allan (2007) (HL)Lord Hoffman –Dunlop Rubber was a good example of unlawful means; even though not explicitly mentioned by the case it is implied by the statement of principle and separate finding of trespass to goods. Lord Nicholls –in Dunlop Rubber, the use of Lumley v Gye was unfortunate because X was not induced to breach his contract, he was merely prevented from performing it. Thus D was not an accessory to anything and the case, as a prevention case, fitted under unlawful means instead

    • DC Thomson v Deakin (1952) (CA)Jenkins LJ – fully adopted the unified theory. Lumley v Gye extended to all interference with contractual relations by unlawful means: direct persuasion/procurement/inducement was a wrongful act in itself and constituted the primary form of the tort. But other examples such as Dunlop Rubber were examples of the same tort. Sir Evershed MR –not logical to limit it to situations where X persuaded to breach: the situation is the same whether X breaks the contract or whether D interferes

  • OBG v Allan (2007) (HL)Lord Hoffman –at the time of DC Thomson there was a lack of appreciation of the unlawful means tort. The court therefore wanted to modify the cause of action to cover cases where unlawful means used to cause damage by interfering with performance of a contract without the participation of X

    1. Circular Reasoning

  • OBG v Allan (2007) (HL)Lord Hoffmann –treating Lumley v Gye as a case of unlawful means is circular because D’s conduct was only wrongful because the court had said it was tortious; therefore it is circular to say it was tortious because it was wrongful

    1. Interference Falling Short of Breach Caused by Lawful Means

  • OBG v Allan (2007) (HL)Lord Nicholls – the effect of the extension was that a person who directly prevents performance of a contract by lawful means is liable. There is no reason why a person should be liable in that situation but still has to use unlawful means if he intentionally inflicts damage in any other [non-direct] way. Why is there a distinction between direct and indirect means?

  • It expands liability to cover interference with contract by lawful means, falling short of inducing breach. This is because under procuring breach, the means do not have to be unlawful but there does have to be a breach; under unlawful means, the means have to be unlawful but there does not have to be a breach. i.e. causing loss by unlawful means doesn’t involve lawful means if it’s a direct prevention of breach; any other way though does require unlawful means to be used




    (effect of merging the two torts)

    • Middlebrook Mushrooms v TGWU (1993) (HC) (reversed on appeal) –D organised a campaign outside supermarkets urging...

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