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What Does Tort Law Protect?

Allan Beever

(2015) 27 SAcLJ 626

Tort lawyers have become used to the notion that, though focused on wrongs and remedies, the law can fruitfully be analysed in terms of the primary rights that underlie its actions. However, this article argues that these rights are frequently misidentified. By way of example, the article shows that it is mistaken or at least misleading to speak of a right to reputation or bodily integrity as underlying the torts of defamation or trespass to the person respectively. The article also suggests an alternative way of understanding the rights to which tort law responds, a suggestion that in turn serves to uncover the fundamental significance of tort law.