Definition of tort law and Meaning

Palak Jain, a 1st-year law student at Law College Rajasthan University has written this article explaining the meaning and nature of Tort Law

This Articles defines the meaning, nature and definition of tort law. The definition of tort is given in Section 2(m) Limitation Act.


Law is bundle of rules which regulates the external behavior of  individuals  in  society. Law of Torts is the branch of law controlling the behavior of people in  the society. It is a growing branch of law and its main object is to define individual  rights  and duties in the light of prevalent standards of reasonable conduct and public convenience. It provides pecuniary remedy for violation against the right of individuals. The entire Law of Torts is founded and structured on the principle that, ‘no one has a  right to injure another intentionally or even innocently.

Meaning of Tort

The word ‘Tort’ is derived from latin term ‘tortum’ which means ‘to twist’ or a deviation from straight or right conduct and includes that conduct which  is  not  straight or lawful.


Tort’ is defined by various jurists as under:

“A tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is a common law action for unliquidated damages and which is not exclusively  the breach of a contract,  or the breach  of a  trust, or the breach of other merely equitable obligation”.


“A tort is an infringement of a right in rem of a private individual, giving a right of compensation at the suit of the injured party”.

– Fraser

“Tortious liability arises from the breach of duty primarily fixed by law; this duty is towards persons generally and its breach is redressible by an action for unliquidated damages”.



‘Tort’ is defined in Section 2(m) Limitation Act, 1963 as: “Tort is a civil wrong which is not exclusively breach of contract or breach of trust”.

Distinction between ‘Tort’ and ‘Crime’

Tort differs both in principle and procedure from a crime and there are basic differences between a tort and a crime which are as follows,

First on the basis of nature of wrong,

Tort is a private  wrong. Private wrong is the infringement of civil right of an individual.  It is comparatively less serious and labeled as civil wrong. Whereas crime is a public wrong. Public wrong is a violation or breach of rights and duties which affect the community, as a whole. It is a more serious wrong.

Second on the basis of nature of remedy,

The remedy in law of tort is damages where as the remedy in crime is punishment

Third on the basis of parties to suits,

In case of tort the suit is filed by injured or aggrieved party where as In case of crime  the complaint is filed in the name of State.

Fourth on the basis of withdrawal of suits,

In case of tort the suit can be withdrawn at any time and compromise can be done with wrongdoer where as In case of crime the complaint cannot be withdrawn  except  in certain circumstances.

Fifth on the basis of codification,

There is no codification in Law of Torts where as The Criminal law is codified.

Sixth on the basis of bar of limitation,

There is bar of limitation of prosecution in Law of torts where as There is no bar of limitation of prosecution in crime.

Seventh on the basis of survival of action,

In case of  death of  tort-feaser his  legal representative can be sued except  when the     tort is defamation, personal injury not causing a death where as In case of death of offender, the suit is put to an end.

Eighth on the basis of application of law,

There is no separate statute deals with tort. Tort is based on judicial  decisions where as the crimes are dealt in Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Ninth on the basis of intention,

In tort, Intention is important but not in all cases, for example, in cases of negligence where as in crime, Intention is the crux of the offence Despite of these differences, the injunction may be  granted in tort as well as in crime. There are various wrongs which   fall under law of torts as well as under criminal law, for example, Assault, Defamation, Negligence, Nuisance and Conspiracy.

Also Read: These Are General Defences In Law Of Torts


    • 2 years ago (Edit)

    […] A tort is a civil wrong that one person can commit against another. Unlike a contract, there is no need for the two parties to have any kind of relationship with each other. All that is needed is for one party to breach a duty that they owe to the other party. […]

    • 2 years ago (Edit)

    […] cases even though they are part of the larger group lawsuit. As such, the compensation in mass tort cases can be higher since each plaintiff is fighting for their own […]

    • 2 years ago (Edit)

    […] Definition of tort law and Meaning […]

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