Apportionment of Damages for Contributory Negligence: The Causal Potency Criterion

James Goudkamp, Lewis Klar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The courts in several common law jurisdictions have adopted a causal potency criterion for
the purposes of apportioning damages for contributory negligence. It has recently been
suggested that Canadian courts should follow suit. This article explores the causal potency
criterion. It is argued that the criterion has been left unexplained with the result that it is an
empty concept. Moreover, no compelling justification has been offered in support of taking
causal potency into account. Accordingly, adopting the causal potency criterion would be
a retrograde step for Canadian tort law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-862
JournalAlberta Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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