The Law of Torts 7th edition, edited by Professor Stephen Todd, was launched at a function at the University of Canterbury on 27th April. The occasion also marked the 25th anniversary of its first publication in 1991.
The event was attended by friends, colleagues, and professional peers of Editor Stephen Todd. Fittingly guests were entertained with a selection of songs from “Leading Cases in Song” which were followed by a speech from Guest of Honour, The Chief Justice Sian Elias, who also wrote the book’s Foreword.
Highlights of The Chief Justice Sian Elias’ speech
Reason for the book’s endurance and stature
Talking about the text she said that “the principal reason why The Law of Torts has endured and grown in stature over the past 25 years is because of the commitment and hard work that has been put in to keep it current.” She also commented that this was fortunate because torts was a field in which the law develops quickly and “an out of date text rapidly becomes dangerous for practitioners, judges and scholars.”
The audacity of youth
Remarking that the book had its beginnings when Professor Stephen Todd was a young lecturer she said the first edition was “a work of considerable audacity” as at the time it was written there was no comparable existing work to emulate and it required “both considerable assurance in scholarship and the enthusiasm of youth.”
First rate legal scholarship
She noted that “all contributors to the text have been notable scholars including; John Burrows, Robert Chambers, Bill Atkin, Cynthia Hawes and Ursula Cheer” and that “their work has given the text its considerable authority.”
The Chief Justice reflecting on the what she called the “worrying lack of serious writing about New Zealand law in recent years” said that it was a “reassurance to have available a text of first rate legal scholarship which is consciously kept up to date and comments critically on local developments as they arise, setting them in the wider comparative law framework.”
The text’s value
Commenting on the text’s value to NZ practitioners and academics she said that it “reflects the fact that we are a small and remote jurisdiction” with a “close connection between common law and statute law “and a “reliance on comparative law”. Furthermore, she said “it never neglects the doctrinal underpinning of torts, at least where such underpinning can be discovered.”
The Law of Torts, she says, “is comprehensive and careful” and “a lot to be grateful for.” It is” she went on, “essential and practical assistance to anyone who tries to keep up with change and needs to try to get their thinking in order in advance of the inevitable challenges ahead”.
She concluded her speech with: “In his preface to the 7th edition, Stephen Todd expresses his delight that, after twenty five years, the book remains in “good health”. I endorse that assessment and congratulate all those who have contributed to it in the twenty-five years of its publication. I look forward to its continued success in the next twenty-five years.”
It’s twenty plus years since Professor Stephen Todd turned a well known torts case into a song for the Canterbury Law Revue. Now there are devotees of his Gilbert and Sullivan treatment of famous cases all around the world.
The book, with CD, contains 42 cases.
Read a sample extract.
This 36 page pdf contains the Foreword, Preface, Table of Contents and 6.4 Liability for defective buildings from Chapter 6 Negligence: Particular Categories of Duty.
To purchase – click The Law of Torts in New Zealand 7th Edition.