Reforming the Automobile Tort System


  • J. H. Laycraft, Q.C.



The author discusses within a broad framework the topic of reforming the automobile tort system. The historic background of automobiles and litigation in the 20th Century, as well as the numerous commissions and inquiries within the last ten years, prompt the author to investigate the present Alberta system for areas in need of reform. The gratuitous passenger, the wrongdoer, the uninsured driver, and the person injured by mischance provide a background against which detailed discussion of the present Alberta system, and the proposed reforms in Western Canada is undertaken. Mr. Laycraft enumerates six specific criticisms of the present system, examines each in detail as a possible reason to justify reform, and concludes that the case for reform has not been validated. The author then proceeds to enumerate four reasons in support of the present system. Finally, the roles of the gratuitous passenger and compulsory insurance are also examined by discussing their relative positions in the present system and proposing how these positions could be altered through reform to develop a better system.