Book Reviews

Tort Law: Text, Cases & Materials

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Author: Jenny Steele

Price: 37.99

Edition: 3rd Edition (September 2014)

ISBN: 978-0-19-967140-3

Buy from OUP: Click Here

For students studying compulsory subjects like tort law, it is often difficult to pick the right text because of the sheer number of options.  One of them is Jenny Steele's third edition of Tort Law: Text, Cases & Materials (coming four years since the second edition was published back in 2010).  It has been fully updated to include the latest changes like the Defamation Act 2013, the recognition of non-delegable duties in the new context of education authorities and their pupils and the proper role of public interest arguments in private nuisance law.

Written by Jenny Steele, an experienced academic with considerable expertise in the law of obligations, Tort Law: Text, Cases & Materials is split into seven parts: introductory; intentional interferences; the tort of negligence; general matters; nuisance and duties relating to land; defamation and privacy; and stricter liabilities.  Each part is then sub-divided (except for the first two parts) into separate chapters.  For example, the final part includes chapters on product liability, breach of statutory duty and trespass to land and goods, and conversion (the latter of which is an extremely important tort in practice).  Similarly, the part on general matters includes chapters on limitation, contribution and vicarious liability and non-delegable duties.

Text, cases and materials books can often come with a significant problem: when the cases and materials break up the text's flow.  Fortunately, Tort Law: Text, Cases & Materials does not suffer from this problem (and the two-tone text means the text is easily distinguished from the materials and cases) and wonderfully weaves cases and materials into the substantive text.  Readers will find the extracts are superbly selected: being both the right length and extremely relevant.  Steele's written style is also enjoyable and engaging.  She explains complex issues expertly and in relatively short and manageable sections.  It remains, however, a surprisingly weighty book.

Tort Law: Text, Cases & Materials continues to provide an accessible book which impressively weaves together text and expertly selected cases and materials.  It also delves into torts often ignored by similar texts including conversion and breach of statutory duty.  It size and price, being towards the higher end of the undergraduate market, may unnecessarily put off some readers.  However, those who invest the time in this text will undoubtedly benefit.  It is an ideal text for those who do not have easy access to a fully stocked law library and a very useful text for practitioners needing a clear reference guide.  It will occupy a prominent position on my shelves and will, no doubt, be a favourite tort law text for years to come.

Reviewed on 22 March 2015

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