From February 14-24, 2017, Professor Neyers was a distinguished visitor at the Centre for Private Law at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Under the auspices of the Centre, Professor Neyers gave two presentations.
The first presentation was a faculty seminar that explained why the tort of deceit was not actionable per se (that is, why the tort required proof of damage). Professor Neyers suggested that the damage requirement reflects deceit’s purpose: to protect us from non-consensual dispossession of our rights. Thus, the common law is correct in making damage the gist of the tort, so long as damage is understood in terms of rights rather than factual loss.
The second presentation was a public lecture entitled “Public Nuisance in the Twenty-First Century”. This lecture sought to demonstrate three things: First, that the orthodox conceptualisation of the tort of public nuisance is flawed, since it violates basic private law principles related to privity and the actionability of crimes. Thus, if this conceptualisation is taken seriously, the tort should be abolished (as torts protect private not public rights). Second, that public nuisance deserves its place in tort law textbooks because it is a coherent cause of action centred on the privately actionable rights to pass and repass on public highways and to fish in public waters. And, third, that a tort reconceptualised in this way can make sense both of the special damage rule (a rule that is generally thought arbitrary or impenetrable) and the general intuition that the recovery of damages for pure personal injuries and property damage is better left to other torts.The AUT Centre for Private Law aims to promote the understanding of private law through a variety of methodologies and to facilitate research and debate across the entire spectrum of private law. Founded in 2015, the Centre consists of leading New Zealand scholars and invited international visitors who join in the work of the Centre.