Quickly add a free MyWikiBiz directory listing!
MyWikiBiz, Author Your Legacy — Sunday March 09, 2014
Economic torts protect people from interference with their trade or business. The area includes the doctrine of restraint of trade and has largely been submerged in the twentieth century by statutory interventions on collective labour law, modern antitrust or competition law, and certain laws governing intellectual property, particularly unfair competition law. The "absence of any unifying principle drawing together the different heads of economic tort liability has often been remarked upon."
The principal torts can be listed as passing off, injurious falsehood and trade libel (see also Food libel laws), conspiracy, inducement of breach of contract, tortious interference (such as interference with economic relations or unlawful interference with trade), and watching and besetting. These torts represent the common law's historical attempt to balance the need to protect claimants against those who inflict economic harm and the wider need to allow effective, even aggressive, competition (including competition between employees and their workers).
Two cases demonstrated economic tort's affinity to competition and labour law. In Mogul Steamship Co. Ltd. the plaintiffs argued they had been driven from the chinese tea market by a 'shipping conference', that had acted together to underprice them. But this cartel was ruled lawful and "nothing more [than] a war of competition waged in the interest of their own trade." Nowadays, this would be considered a criminal cartel.
In English labour law the most notable case is Taff Vale Railway v. Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants . The House of Lords thought that unions should be liable in tort for helping workers to go on strike for better pay and conditions. But it riled workers so much that it led to the creation of the British Labour Party and the Trade Disputes Act 1906 Further torts used against unions include conspiracy, interference with a commercial contract  or intimidation. LegalDay Economic Torts
- ^ p.509 Markesinis and Deakin's Tort Law (2003 5th Ed.) OUP)
- ^ Mogul Steamship Co. Ltd. v. McGregor, Gow & Co. (1889) LR 23 QBD 598
- ^ per Bowen LJ, (1889) LR 23 QBD 598, 614
- ^ Taff Vale Railway v. Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants  AC 426
- ^ Quinn v. Leatham  AC 495
- ^ Torquay Hotels Ltd v. Cousins 
- ^ Rookes v. Barnard  AC 1129