‘A tort is a legal wrong which one person or entity (the tortfeasor) commits against another person… and for which the usual remedy is an award of damages.’
Got it. Pretty much anyone who does me wrong can be made to pay? Amazing, love it. What a fabulous way to ignore my personal short-comings and take pleasure in having a good old sook about all the mildly inconvenient trespasses against me.
Look I don’t have time to go through the pesky steps in between, I get the vibe of thing. Duty, breach, causation, all dealt with. Get ready to pay up, suckers.
Personal aggrievances that there should totally be a tort for;
The defendant: The Victorian Government (and its subsidiaries).
The wrong: “Buses will be replacing trains on the Hurstbridge line”.
Damages: Where do I even begin? I spent the better half of Semester One slowly losing the will to live to the hum of an over-crowded replacement bus and what do I get in return? Okay yes, better roads and less traffic due to level-crossing removals has been advantageous, but I’m not over it. And you know what, throw in some extra dosh for the complete eye-sore that is University Square at the moment. You’re looking at a solid $90,000 guys.
The defendant: My ex-boyfriend.
The wrong: Absolutely ruining the entire discography of LCD Soundsystem for me.
Damages: This one’s a doozy. How can you monetise my persistent and hysterical heartbreak the loss of James Murphy’s immortal genius? Sure, I didn’t even know who he was until we dated but now the damage is done. I’ll settle for the cost of the concert ticket and three tubs of Connoisseur Gourmet Ice Cream (Sumatran Coconut with Chocolate Fudge Sauce thanks).
The defendant: Mooting judge who shall remain anonymous.
The wrong: Not letting my team win and progress to the next round despite obvious superiority of the opposition.
Damages: Sorry what? You’re giving it to the other side because they had a better understanding of this niche area of law that I didn’t even know existed less than 24 hours ago? Ridiculous. I completely reject your decision. I don’t even like mooting that much and here I am, centimetres away from a meltdown because I just spent two days neglecting life’s necessities (sleep, food, oxygen that doesn’t come from the JD study area vents) to prepare for this goddamn moot which I’ve just LOST. I can live with it, but that’s $175,000 for you bud.
The defendant: Slow Walkers™ at major train stations during peak hour.
The wrong: Idk just being THE WORST.
Damages: MATE. How do you not have your myki ready and waiting as soon as you disembark the public transport vehicle of your choice? How is it that you feel no shame in causing obscene congestion? It’s 8:47 and I am PUSHING IT. No, it is irrelevant that I missed the early train because I had to turn back and get the lip balm I left at home. Because of you I definitely won’t have time for a delicious choccie-milk treat before class. You can cover the cost of that and the croissant I’ll probably buy in the 10min break in an attempt to un-ruin my day.
The defendant: Un-named MLS lecturer.
The wrong: “The content from Seminars 19-24 will not be examinable”.
Damages: Alright, this is fine. Honestly, I’m not mad. This is a good thing. But I’ll be invoicing you for the time I put into that now un-examinable content. Billable hours babe.
The defendant: Fellow University of Melbourne student.
The wrong: Very nearly car-dooring me on Elgin Street.
Damages: Okay, so you didn’t actually car-door me, but you came bloody close. You put the fear of God in me. I’m a shit cyclist as is, and by the time I cross Lygon St and approach the offensively ugly Physics building I’m a sweaty, delirious mess. And then you have the AUDACITY to not take two whole seconds to check the bike lane isn’t full of potential victims. Good one dickhead. That’ll be $3,500,000. I’ll text you my bank details.
Maddy Pittle is a first-year JD student. Torts was her worst subject in Semester One.
Australian Law Reform Commission, Immunity from Civil Liability, (3 August 2015) <https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/what-tort>