Essential Elements of Tort

Essential Elements of Tort

What is a tort? and what are the essential elements of tort? Tort means a civil wrongful act. Three essentials of tort can be seen in the law of torts. Before, discussing them, let's see the meaning of tort.

Table of Contents

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Essential Elements of Tort

What is the Meaning of Tort Law?

Tort law meaning is defined as the term 'tort' has been derived from the Latin word 'tortum' which means 'twisted'. And the word 'tort' is also found in French which means 'wrong'. It is basically referred to as a wrongful act. A tort is a 'civil wrong'.

Read Also: 

  1. Types of Tort
  2. Malicious Prosecution Meaning in Tort
  3. Pigeon Hole Theory in Torts

In short, a tort is a wrongful act in which the wrongdoer violates the legal rights of the other person. And, when the legal right is breached then it is known as a tort.

The tort meaning has been defined by Prof. Winfield in his book "The Law of Torts". Tort means, 'all injuries that have done to the other person are torts unless and until justified it recognized by the law.'

The definition of tort is given under section 2(m) of the Limitation Act, 1963, as ' Tort means a civil wrong which is not exclusively a breach of contract or breach of trust.' These are the definition of tort law.

Objectives of Tort

There are various objectives of torts penned down by various Jurists and thinkers. They are given below;

  1. To regulate the rights between the parties to a dispute,
  2. To refrain the other from continuing or reputation of harm,
  3. To protect certain rights of individuals who are recognized by law i.e. person's reputation,
  4.  To restore one’s property to its rightful owner i.e. where the property is wrongfully taken away from its rightful owner. 

Essential Elements of Tort

Now, let's discuss the essentials of tort, there are mainly three essentials to constitute a tort or civil injury. And, these are;

  1. A wrongful act or omission
  2. Legal damage
  3. Legal remedy

These are the tort elements. Here, we discussed the essential of tort in brief;

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Essentials of Tort

1. A Wrongful Act or Omission

A person is liable under tort when he/she must have done some actions that he/she was not expected to do so or he/she must have omitted some act that he/she expected to do.

A wrongful act is an act that affects the legal rights of other persons. Such wrongful acts were recognized by the laws, and the wrongful acts are the acts that are in violation of such laws.

The wrongful act can be committed both either morally and legally at a similar time.

Whenever any wrongful act is committed that violates the legal rights of the other person or violates a legal duty then the liability of tort arises.

If any activity seems to be prima facie (at the first impression) innocent but later looks like infringing someone's legal rights. Innuendo is the perfect example of this.

Here, 'Innuendo' means, that the statement looks innocent at the first sight but has a secondary view that harms the reputation of the other person in the eyes of the public or the person before whom such a statement is passed.

Example: In one's religion, non-vegetarian foods are strictly prohibited, if someone forcefully fed him non-vegetarian food then it is a legal wrong. But, if he eats non-vegetarian foods without any force then he is morally wrong but not legally.

General Cleaning Cor. Ltd. v/s Christmas, 1953

In this case, the court held that an employer has to provide safety equipment that is mandatory and essential for safe work, if the employer failed to provide such essential equipment to the workers then he would be liable for the consequences of that omission.

2. Legal Damage

Another important essential of torts is legal damage. Here, legal damage means injury to the body of a person, property of the other person, or injury to the legal rights of the other person. In simple words, legal damage means violation or infringement of legal rights.

There are two words, damage, and damages. These words look similar but the legal meanings of these words are totally different. So, as we have seen damage means injury whereas damages mean compensation.

For an injury caused to the plaintiff, it is the duty of the plaintiff to prove there was a wrongful act or omission on the part of the defendant causing thereby a breach of legal duty or violation of the legal rights of the plaintiff.

Therefore, the plaintiff is bound to prove that there has been legal damage caused to him by the other person. Hence, violation of legal rights is actionable.

There are two principles in torts;

1. Damnum Sine Injuria

This is a Latin maxim damnum sine injuria which means damage without an injury. In other words, it means causing damage howsoever substantial to the other person is not actionable in law unless and until there is a violation of some legal rights of the other person. Therefore, there is no compensation for the plaintiff unless there is no violation of legal rights.

2. Injuria Sine Damnum

This is a Latin maxim injuria sine damnum which means an injury without damage. In this, the plaintiff suffered from the legal damage and not from actual loss. This means there is a violation of legal rights but actual damage or loss is not caused to the plaintiff.

3. Legal Remedy

Legal remedy is the third essential of tort. The wrongful act or omission of the defendant must be an actual wrong which arises remedy is a civil action for those damages.

The essential remedy for tort is an action, but, there are other remedies available like an injunction. 

The law of tort is similar to the Latin maxim 'Ubi jus ibi remedium' which means there is no right without a remedy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential elements of torts?

The essential of tort, there are mainly three essentials to constitute a tort or civil injury. And, these are; 1) A wrongful act or omission 2) Legal damage 3) a Legal remedy

RemedyWhat are the 8 constituent elements of tort?

Elements of Tort- wrongful act, legal damage, legal remedy, Damnum sine injuria and Injuria sine damno, pigeon-hole theory, etc.

Is intention an essential element of tort?

Intention, generally speaking, is irrelevant in torts. The exception is malicious prosecution. You need to prove the damage suffered by you and the liability of the defendant, as in, his actions leading up to your damage.

What are the definition and elements of tort?

There must be a wrongful act or omission committed by a person. The wrongful act or omission must result in legal remedy in the form of an action for damages. The wrongful act must be of such a nature to give rise to a legal remedy in the form of an action for damages.


Thus, there are three essential elements of tort. If any one of these essentials of tort is missing or absent then there is no tort. Where wrongful acts or omissions there is legal damage, both go hand in hand. These are tort elements explained in this article.

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