By Siddharth Dey
“Your right to swing your fists end where my nose begins”. – Unknown
This phrase encapsulates the idea of the Law of Torts in the best way possible.
The word ‘Tort’” is derived from the old French word ‘tort’ and the Latin word ‘tortum’, both of them roughly meaning ‘twisted’.
This makes sense because the Law of Torts is a branch of civil law which says that people should act in a certain way, or within certain limits, and any action outside that is a ‘twisted’ form of how one should normally act.
This is because the very foundation of the Law of Torts is that people have certain rights which are recognized by law. These rights cannot be violated/infringed unless that is done with reasonable cause and justification.
Therefore, looking at the above quote, Wolverine has a right to swing his fists as he pleases, provided that it does not hit Cyclops’s nose, or any other part of Cyclops’s body.
When Cyclops’s right is infringed, which would be when his fists touch any part of Cyclops’ body, Cyclops suffers a ‘legal injury’ – an injury recognized by law.
Now, what if Wolverine’s claws leave a deep gash in Cyclops’s arm? We term that as ‘actual injury’, or injury that is tangible or has a physical manifestation.
The Law of Torts considers actual injury to be irrelevant, except in some cases, because this Law compensates you on the basis of your rights, and not injuries in general.
Coming back to Cyclops, an aggrieved party, i.e., the party which suffers the legal injury, makes a ‘claim’ against the tortfeasor (the wrongdoer) when he seeks compensation for the violation of his/her right. So, naturally, Cyclops will make a claim in the court.
This is where the Law of Torts kicks into gear. While applying the Law of Torts, the court will ask two questions:
1) What/which legal right has been violated/infringed?
2) What are the justifications for that violation/ infringement?
Based on those, the court will or will not award Cyclops with a “remedy”.