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Causation compared: facts, fictions inferences and legal legitimacy.

Arnell, Sarah



An analysis of how the supreme courts in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have dealt with evidential difficulties in establishing causation in tort/delict, where there is a gap in scientific knowledge which makes it impossible to say how an injury or disease occurred, highlights the different interpretations given to the “but for” test so central to the rules of causation in all three jurisdictions. These jurisdictions ostensibly apply the “but for” criterion as the primary test for determining causation. Material contribution to harm and increase in risk of harm each play a varying role in causation in each jurisdiction. Their role is determined by the way in which the “but for” test is applied. Particularly as between the United Kingdom, on one hand, and Canada and Australia, on the other, the application of the “but for” test varies significantly and results in a different outcome for the establishment of causation.


ARNELL, S. 2013. Causation compared: facts, fictions inferences and legal legitimacy. Journal of comparative law, 8(1), pages 63-104.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2013
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2013
Publication Date Dec 31, 2013
Deposit Date Aug 28, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 28, 2014
Journal Journal of comparative law
Print ISSN 1477-0814
Publisher Wildy, Simmonds and Hill
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Pages 63-104
Public URL


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