The Difference Between Relationship of Parties in Tort and Contract

The legal relationship of parties in tort differs in various ways with the legal relationship of parties in contract.


First, consent plays a center stage in bringing about the difference between the two relationships. The agreement between parties in a contractual relationship is entered with the knowledge of both parties without coercion on any party. A contract is considered to be valid only if both parties hold a mutual consent to it and its outcomes as stated in the agreement. On the other hand, legal relationship in tort is not based on consent. It involves the intrusion of one party into the welfare of another – interference with the safety, privacy or health of another party.


Another difference between the relationship in tort and relationship of parties in contract is based on the damages awarded by the court. Regarding the relationship of parties in a contract, the court awards damages in order to restore the original position of the parties before a breach of the contract occurred.

For a relationship in tort, damages are awarded in order to compensate the aggrieved party for the loss suffered as a result of an act of negligence or omission. The amount of damages awarded in tort is agreed upon through negotiation or by an order of the court. On the other hand, the amount of damages awarded in contract is indicated in the terms of the actual contract.


As a general principle, the parties to a contract are bound by the terms contained in the contractual document agreed by both parties at the time when the contract was created. If such an agreement is breached, one party my claim for damages, termination of the contract or both damages and termination of the contract. The award of damages will depend on the ruling of the court and the elements of the contract.

On the other hand, parties in a relationship of tort are never bound by any agreement but are only subjected to conflict due to the negligence of an individual in his/her ordinary undertakings in life. Whenever an individual or company carries out their tasks, their actions may impact on other members of the society. This may lead to negligence whose outcome is evident in tort. Due to this fact, there is no binding agreement between the parties in tort.

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