The Unlawful Means Tort<sup>1</sup>

Hazel Carty

in An Analysis of the Economic Torts

Second edition

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199546749
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191594946 | DOI:
The Unlawful Means Tort1

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Although the existence of this tort is implicit in the discussion in Allen v Flood, it has only received its first real analysis in OBG. This chapter maps the history of the tort and its relationship to the tort of inducing breach of contract (the unlawful means tort involving stand-alone, primary liability). It explores its key ingredients: intention and unlawful means. As is revealed, uncertainties remain post-OBG given the orthodox definition of intention for this tort is apparently rejected, and given Lord Hoffmann (speaking for the majority) and Lord Nicholls disagreed on the definition of ‘unlawful means’. The implications for the future of this tort are then debated, centred on a discussion of the possible polices that could shape the definition of unlawful means. In addition, this tort is distinguished from an obscure principle of equity that originates from the decision in Springhead Spinning v Riley.

Keywords: unlawful means tort; primary liability; intention; unlawful means; Springhead Spinning v Riley; breach of contract; Allen v Flood

Chapter.  20125 words. 

Subjects: Intellectual Property Law

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