Distinction between 'Tort' and 'Crime'

TORT

1. Tort is an infringement of private or civil rights of an individual.

2. The forum of redressal of a tort is a civil court.

3. In tort the wrongdoer has to pay damages to the injured party.

4. In case of tort the action is initiated by the injured party or his representatives.

5. In tort the intention is of subordinate importance.

CRIME

1. Crime is a breach of public rights affecting the whole society.

2. In crime the proceedings are initiated in a criminal court.

3. In crime the wrongdoer is punished by the State.

4. As crime is a wrong against the community, the proceedings are initiated in the name the State.

5. In crime, intention is of prime importance

Distinction between TORT & CONTRACT

TORT

1. Tort results from the breach of such duties which are not undertaken by parties themselves but which are imposed by law.

2. Duties imposed by law under law of torts are not towards any specific individual or individuals but are towards the world at large.

3. A tort is a violation of a right in rem (i.e. a right vested in some determinate person and available against the world at large).

4. Damages in case of breach of tort are generally unliquidated and are determined by the court on the facts and circumstances of each case.

5. In an action for tort, no privity is needed or is required to be proved.

CONTRACT

1. A breach of contract (non-performance of promise not excused by law) results from breach of a duty undertaken by the parties themselves. 

2. In a contract the duty is based on privity of contract and each party owes duty only to the other contracting party.

3. A breach of contract is an infringement of a right in personam (i.e. a right available only against some determinate person or party).

4. In contract damages are fixed according to the terms and conditions of contract.

5. In a breach of contract privity between the parties must be proved.

Distinction between Tort and Breach of Contract

  1. On the basis of fixation of duty – In tort, the duty is fixed by the law itself where as In contract, the duty is fixed by the party themselves.
  2. On the basis of attribution of duty – In tort, the duty is towards every person of the community or society where as In contract, the duty is towards specific person or persons.
  3. On the basis of violation of rights – A tort is a violation of a right in rem (that is, a right vested in some determinate person and available against the world at large) where as A breach of contract is an infringement of a right in personam (that is, of a right available only against some determinate person or party.
  4. On the basis of need of privity – In an action for tort, no Privity is needed or is required to be proved where as In a breach of contract, Privity between the parties must be proved.
  5. On the basis of motive – In tort, motive is often taken into account where as In breach of contract motive is not relevant.
  6. On the basis of damages – In tort, measure of damages is different in different circumstances which may be nominal or exemplary where as In Breach of contract, damages are awarded in the form of compensation for pecuniary loss suffered.
  7. On the basis of suit by third party – A third party can sue for tort even though there was no contract between the person causing injury and the person injured where as A third party to a contract cannot sue for breach of contract except in some exceptional cases.
  8. On the basis of intention – Intention is sometimes taken into consideration where as Intention, in case of breach of contract, is of no relevance.
  9. On the basis of concern – Law of tort is concerned with losses where as Contract law is concerned with promises.
  10. On the basis of period of limitations – Limitation begins to run from the date when damages occurs where as Limitation commences when the breach of obligation takes place.

Distinction between Tort and Quasi-Contract

The common point between a tort and a quasi-contract is that the duty in each case is imposed by the law. The main distinction between a quasi-contract and a tort is that the law of quasi-contract gives a right only with respect to money, and generally, it is a liquidated sum of money. Law of torts, apart from a right to damages, grants other remedies also. Moreover, a claim from damages under the law of torts is always for an unliquidated sum of money.

Another distinctive point is that in a quasi-contract the duty is always towards a particular person, whereas under the law of torts, the duty is towards persons generally.

In certain cases, when a tort has been committed, the injured party has a choice of not bringing an action for damages in tort, but of suing the wrongdoer in quasi-contract to recover the value of the benefit obtained by the wrongdoer.

When the plaintiff elects to sue in quasi-contract instead of tort, he is said to have ‘waived the tort’. Where the defendant has gained any advantage or profit, the tort may still be waived but the plaintiff may demand money equivalent to the unjust benefit made by the defendant. The torts which can be waived are those of conversion, trespass to land or goods, deceit and the action for extorting money by threats. In certain torts, like defamation and assault, the doctrine of waiver cannot be applied.

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