Dalhousie Law Journal


law of causation, negligence, Canada, torts, jurisprudence, evidence, injury, wrongful behaviour


This article argues that there is nothing overly confusing about the law ofcausation in negligence. It attempts to define the current state of causation in Canadian negligence law with a simple goal in mind: to have a clearer more productive conversation about the law with the fundamental concepts clearly on the table. The author argues that while the leading decisions on causation are often couched in broad-based, universal terminology to refrain from inhibiting conceptual portability,the cases can be read as a sustained continuum of conversations about causation. A cohesive framework for the law is offered by taking a longitudinal perspective and focusing on the simple themes of Canadian tort law present in the causation jurisprudence: the doctrinal tests for causation, evidence for proving causation, thin skulls, and crumbing skulls. Avoiding a case-by-case dissection approach, this article instead attempts to synthesize the relevant jurisprudence. At the centre of the analysis is the bedrock principle that the negligence system is a fault-based system which relies on proving a connection between a defendant's wrongful behaviour and a plaintiff's injury.

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