Causation in Tort Law: Back to Basics at the Supreme Court of Canada

  • Mitchell McInnes


This article analyzes the role of causation in Canadian tort law. The author uses the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision of Athey v. Leonati as a model to show how even complex problems of causation can be solved through the application of fundamental principles of tort law: the "restoration" principle, the "take your victim" principle, and the "vicissitudes" principle. The author also demonstrates the importance of distinguishing types of causes based on the following dichotomies: tortious and non-tortious, sufficient and insufficient, and simultaneous and successive. The author argues that applying these principles, and distinguishing causes in this manner, will greatly simplify the resolution of even seemingly complex problems of causation in tort law.