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We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 12KBW Thomson Reuters Tort Law Awards. The title for this year’s competition was: “Is the ‘duty of care’ an unnecessary element in the modern law of negligence?”

The final competition judge, The Honourable Mr Justice Cotter said:

“The duty of care fulfils the normative role of determining the circumstances in which a defendant will be held liable for carelessly causing (foreseeable) damage to another, from circumstances where there is to be no liability. The aim is to impose a duty when it is reasonable to do so. So much is straightforward. However, the identification of a test which sets out in what circumstances (and why) a duty was, and will be, owed has proved very far from straightforward and remains very controversial. Many academics, including some of the most respected commentators on the law of Tort, are concerned by what they perceive to be the continual sewing on of new patches to the quilt i.e. the expansion of circumstances where a duty is imposed and also the open-ended nature of the test imposed which leads to uncertainty, in no small part due to the inclusion of policy considerations. Such criticisms have considerable force.

The winning essay cogently argues that one must always be careful not to replace one imperfect solution with another such as moving issues addressed by the duty of care to the tests in respect of other elements. Flexibility is necessary as society develops and the law of liability for Tort should not be a straightjacket. Flexibility will necessarily create uncertainty.

Each of the three finalists produced an excellent analysis of this difficult subject. I thoroughly enjoyed reading (and re-reading) them. It was not easy to choose a winner. In the end my decision is:

The winner is: Michael Budd

Second place: Josh Neaman 

Third place: Rodolfo Grillo


Michael Budd’s Essay Josh Neaman’s Essay Rodolfo Grillo’s Essay
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