Pigeon hole theory in torts has been defined by Salmond and this theory was supported by various jurists viz. Dr Jenks, Heuston, Dr Glanville William etc. Salmond’s Pigeon Hole Theory is based on a debate whether the subject of tort should be called as “Law of Torts” or “Law of Tort”. According to Salmond’s Pigeon Hole Theory, it is the “Law of Torts”.
|Pigeon Hole Theory in Torts
Meaning of Pigeon Hole Theory in Torts
Meaning of pigeon hole theory in torts is provided in the subject Law of Torts. To understand the meaning of pigeon hole theory we must know the definition and meaning of tort.
Tort is defined as “Tort is a civil wrong other than a breach of contract or breach of trust.” The term “Tort” has come from the Latin term ‘tortum” which simply means “to twist”. The pigeon hole theory is defined by Salmond and the same is supported by various jurists.
Salmond’s pigeon hole theory is based upon the debate whether the tort subject should be called ‘Law of Torts’ or ‘Law of Tort’. According to Salmond, it is the ‘Law of Torts’. And, the Jurist Winfield propagated the Winfield theory and according to Winfield it is the ‘Law of Tort’. But, the majority of jurists were in support of Salmond’s pigeon hole theory in torts.
Salmond’s Pigeon Hole Theory
Pigeon hole theory and Winfield theory of tort are defined by Salmond and Winfield respectively. The pigeon hole theory and Winfield theory are based on the debate that the subject of torts should be called ‘Law of Torts’ or ‘Law of Tort’.
Salmond’s pigeon hole theory revolves around two primary questions;
- Shall we restrict the law of torts to only those ‘torts’ that strictly fall within the meaning of a specified set of torts? or
- Shall we refrain from doing so and include every wrongful act for which there lies no justification as a ‘tort’?
According to Salmond, no single principle can be applied to ascertain the tortious liability of the wrongdoer person. Only those wrongs should be considered as torts which are well-defined wrongs and confined within a small shape that is known as a ‘Pigeon Hole Theory’.
Supporters of Salmond’s Pigeon Hole Theory
Salmond’s Pigeon Hole Theory is supported by various jurists like Dr Jenks, Heuston, Dr Glanville William and many more.
Dr Jenks supported Salmond’s Pigeon Theory of Torts and he explained that it would not restrict the Courts or any other competent authority from creating new torts, rather than the new torts would bear similarities to the existing torts.
Heuston also supported this theory and in a view of Heuston, there was an error in interpreting the pigeon hole theory propagated by Salmond, that Salmond never intended to classify the law of torts as a closed and expansible system.
Further, Heuston quoted that it does not mean that the pigeon hole theory of torts is not abundant but they could be added to this theory.
Dr Glanville Williams also supported this theory and stated that classifying torts into pigeon hole theory should not be interpreted as pigeon holes not having enough space for all the wrongs or not being expandable.
Criticism of Salmond’s Pigeon Hole Theory of Torts
There was a criticism between Salmond’s pigeon hole theory and Winfield’s theory and the criticism is based on whether it should be called the law of torts or the law of tort. But, the various jurist supports Salmond’s pigeon hole theory as Salmond described this question in pigeon hole theory of torts and said it is the ‘Law of Torts’.
Although pigeonhole theory has already been criticized by various jurists, there are still many intelligent people who are still questioning the future development in the study of the law of torts.