- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 17 Jan 2018
Contract vs tort
The classic 19th century definition of a contract is 'a promise or set of promises which the law will enforce' (Pollock, Principles of Contract 13th edition). That is to say, there is reciprocity of undertaking passing between the promisor and the promisee.
Tort, on the other hand, is generic in nature and therefore more difficult to define. It is a collection of civil law remedies entitling a person to recover damages for loss and injury which have been caused by the actions, omissions or statements of another person in such circumstances that the latter was in breach of a duty or obligation imposed at law.
Historically, actions in contract and in tort derived from the same source - trespass - compared with actions for breach of a deed, which were based upon an action on the covenant. Actions for breach of contract were based on assumpsit and actions in tort were ex delicto. In the 17th century the courts began to draw procedural but not substantive distinctions between assumpsit and actions ex delicto.
These distinctions became substantive differences during the nineteenth century, reflecting the political social and economical philosophy of 'laissez-faire', which emphasised the importance of the legal doctrines of freedom of contract and sanctity of contract.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Alternative dispute resolution.
- Breach of contract.
- Causes of construction disputes.
- Construction contract.
- Contract negotiation.
- Derogation from grant.
- Dispute resolution boards.
- Donoghue v Stevenson.
- Modifying clauses in standard forms of contract.
- Scheme for Construction Contracts.
- Strict liability.
Featured articles and news
A vision for digital highways
Finding stone to conserve historic buildings.
If it is not planned properly even a simple activity can kill.
A disgruntled or ignored stakeholder can easily derail your hard work.
Next generation cementitious materials
Still going strong...one of the great buildings of the 20th century.
Review of the bible for heritage assets and their management.
The David Lloyd Lymington Sports Village was 'Commended' in CIAT's 2018 AT Awards.
How do we make the smart city a reality?
Sir Nicholas Grimshaw has been awarded the UK’s highest honour for architecture.
Protecting the construction industry from Brexit.