File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Tort: Lawful Act And Bad Motive-Motive, Malice, Intention And Tort

What Is Tort Law?

A subset of the civil law which is known as the tort law deals with circumstances in which one party's actions�whether due to strict liability, negligence, or intentional behaviour�cause harm to another. Offering remedies to people who have been harmed by the wrongdoings of others is the main goal of tort law.

Often, these remedies comprise monetary compensation that might be created to cover losses and harm that happened. Tort law is a vital pillar in the legal framework, since it gives individuals a method to claim recompense when they have suffered damage and ensures that the society is being kept accountable and safe.

The spheres of tort and tort law also have one more point in common, a situation where a person performs a legal action but due to being a bad:minded leads to legal consequences though the act itself being legally valid. This could be accomplished through delicately navigating the area between respecting an individual's need to do some actions by their own will and ensuring that people will not practice their legal rights in order to bring about harm to others.

Elements Of Tort:

  1. Duty of care: There must have been a duty to take care of the defendant towards the plaintiff in the circumstances involving negligence. The focus is not on the defendant's intent but on whether the defendant used reasonable care to cause the destruction. They must therefore act with the same caution that a reasonable person would act in a similar situation.
  2. Breach of duty: By acting differently from what a reasonable person would have in prudence done, the defendant must have violated their duty of care.
  3. Injury: Injury is a key element in determining whether a tort has occurred. Injury refers towards the harm or loss suffered by a person which has occurred due to another person's wrongful act. In order to successfully bring a claim in tort, the plaintiff must prove that they have suffered actual injury or harm, and that the harm was caused by the defendant's actions.
Remedy: The legal options accessible to plaintiffs who have been harmed by the wrongdoing of others are known as remedies. In tort law, compensating the harmed person for their losses and putting them back in the same situation as before the harm is the main goal of remedies.

What Is Motive?

The term "motive" describes the cause behind an individual's behavior. A person's behavior is motivated by their underlying objective or aim.

Role Of Motive In Tort Law:

Motive frequently has no direct bearing on whether a tort has been committed. For instance, in negligence proceedings, the emphasis is not on the defendant's motivation but rather on whether they failed to use reasonable care and caused harm.
  • However, the defendant's motivation may matter for determining guilt and damages in some intentional torts, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress or defamation. For instance, it may be pertinent to a defamation lawsuit if someone publishes maliciously false remarks about another individual.
  • The determination of whether to award punitive damages may also take motive into account. If the defendant's actions were particularly heinous or evil, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant and prevent similar behavior in the future.
For Example:
  1. Defamation: Defamation is the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. It can be through written or spoken means i.e. words, sign or other visual representation.
  2. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: The intentional or negligent infliction of mental distress onto another person, such as by threatening them with harm in the future, is referred to as "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
  3. Malicious Prosecution: The term "malicious prosecution" refers to the improper filing of charges. It is the pursuit of an individual without a plausible reason that results in harm. It's a type of tort, and the victim has the legal right to hold the police department accountable for any wrongdoing.

Lawful Act With Bad Motive

According to a tort law theory, even if someone acts lawfully but has a poor motivation, they may still be held accountable if their goal is to hurt another person. This happens when someone exercises their legal rights in a way that is motivated by malice or interference with the rights of another person rather than by their own legitimate interests.

Lawful Act: The purpose is the accomplishment of the course of the positive order. It can thus be part of disputes about performing a function related to property, business, or contractual rights, among others.

Bad Motive: The essential component of the case is the intent of the person to do evil or act maliciously under the guise of legal action. One of the negative motives could be the purpose of harming the other person, harming their business/ interests.

For Example:
  • Business Competition: It refers to the practice of cutting prices or employing other aggressive tactics in order to hurt or eliminate competitors from the market, in addition to gaining a competitive advantage.
  • Property Use: When someone uses their land in a way that negatively impacts a neighbor, such as planting overgrown bushes or building a structure that obstructs their access, light, or view.
  • Contract Enforcement: It is the process of upholding one's legal rights under a contract with the primary goal of hurting the other party instead of advancing one's own interest.

What Is Malice?

Malice is the willful intent to do harm or to act improperly, usually driven by resentment, animosity, or ill will. In some cases of tort claims, especially deliberate torts, malice may be a major factor. Although it is not a requirement for all tort claims, malice can play a significant role in some situations, especially when determining the gravity of the defendant's actions and the proper remedies.

Role Of Malice In Tort Law
  • International Tort: Intentional torts including assault, false imprisonment, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress etc. often involve malice as a key ingredient. Malice in these situations may prove the defendant's intention to cause the plaintiff harm.[6]
  • Defamation: If the defendant in a defamation lawsuit intends to damage the plaintiff's reputation, then malice may be a major factor in establishing that intention. Higher damages for the plaintiff may result from proving malice.
  • Punitive Damages: If proof of bad faith is presented, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are intended to hold the defendant accountable for extremely egregious acts and to deter similar behavior in the future.
  • Abuse of legal rights: When someone misuses their legal rights with the intention of hurting another, malice may also be present. Even if the act is legal in and of itself, this could result in liability.

What Is Intention And Tort?

If someone injures the victim in any way that affects their life, property, reputation, etc., they can be held liable for torts. Regardless of whether the damage was caused intentionally or accidentally, the law of torts allows liability to be established.

A tort can be classified into two main types based on its intent:
  1. Intentional Tort: An intentional tort is a specific kind of tort (civil wrong) in which the accused party knowingly participates in behavior that injures or damages another individual. In contrast to the negligence, which is defined as the failure to use reasonable care,[7] intentional torts are defined as deliberate or knowing acts. Even if the defendant did not plan for the particular result, their intent to cause harm is the crucial component in intentional tort cases.

    Case Law:
    Garratt v. Dailey, 49 Wn.2d 499 (Wash. 1956)
    Facts: The plaintiff alleged that five:year:old Dailey (the defendant) intentionally pulled a lawn chair out from under her until she was ready to sit down after she went outside into the backyard to talk to her sister. The defendant told the trial court that he was trying to move the chair toward the plaintiff so she could sit on it, and the court accepted his version of events.

    He claimed that his small size and lack of experience prevented him from getting the chair under the plaintiff in time to prevent her from falling. The plaintiff was injured in the fall. The defendant won the court of first instance. On appeal, the Washington Supreme Court decided the defendant's intent on the facts.

    Issue: In an action for battery, what constitutes willful and unlawful intent?

    Held: The case was remanded to the Supreme Court for the District of Columbia to allow for further clarification. The parties were instructed to ascertain whether the defendant actually knew that the plaintiff might attempt to take a seat at the predetermined location. If so, the court should have changed the sentence.
  2. Unintentional Tort: Unintentional torts, also referred to as negligence torts, happen when someone acts in a way that hurts another person without that person's desire to do so. The most prevalent kind of torts are unintentional ones, which happen when someone doesn't take reasonable precautions and causes harm or damage to another. The primary component of an inadvertent tort is that the injury was brought about by negligence rather than on purpose or purposefully.

    Case Law:
    Wilkinson v. Downton (1897) 2 QB 57

    Wilkinson v. Downton is a notable case in English tort law. The case, decided in 1897, established the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, also known as the "Wilkinson v. Downton" tort. In this case, the defendant, Mr. Downton, played a practical joke on the plaintiff, Mrs. Wilkinson, by falsely informing her that her husband had been seriously injured. This caused Mrs. Wilkinson severe emotional distress.

    The court ruled in favor of Mrs. Wilkinson, establishing the principle that intentionally causing someone severe emotional distress, even without physical injury, can be a basis for a civil lawsuit. This case set a precedent for recognizing emotional harm as a valid basis for legal action, even in the absence of physical injury.

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly