Tag Archives: accidents

Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Four – Liability for Wrongs


Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Four – Liability for Wrongs

By Duncan Whitmore

The fourth part of our survey of libertarian law and legal systems will explore causative events of legal liability arising from wrongs – that is a breach of some obligation owed by one legal person to another without the necessity of a pre-existing relationship such as a contract.

There are two issues that demarcate the approach of a libertarian legal system towards wrongs as opposed to that of a contemporary legal system. First is the definition of a wrong and second is the standard of liability – that is, the point at which the defendant becomes legally liable for a wrong.

Libertarian Definition of a “Wrong”

In contemporary legal systems, a wrong is some sort of act on the part of an individual that is viewed as being subject to legal sanction. Unfortunately, we have to start off with such a vague tautology as, looking at the variety of acts that are subject to legal regulation, this is about as precise as we can get. In many cases, of course, the wrong will be some form of harm caused by one individual to another which serves as the causative event to generate a legal response.

“Harm” is very broadly defined and can include violent and physical inflictions, such as murder, serious bodily injury, or damage and destruction to property, all the way to more ethereal harms that may include nothing more than speaking one’s mind such as “defamation” and causing “offence”. However, events currently classified as legal wrongs needn’t have a victim at all as the act may either be wholly unilateral or take place between consenting individuals. As an example of the former we can cite nearly all offences related to drug possession and dealing, and of the latter the criminalisation of certain sexual practices owing either to their nature (such as in sadomasochism) or to the gender of the participants (i.e. homosexual intercourse). Basically, it is no exaggeration to admit that a wrong, legally defined, in our contemporary, statist legal systems means nothing more than some act that the ruling government or legislature doesn’t like and wishes to outlaw, to the extent that even quite innocuous behaviour may find itself being subjected not only to legal regulation but to criminal sanction.

As we outlined in part one, no legal liability is generated in a libertarian legal order unless the wrong, or the “harm”, consists of a physical invasion of the person or property of another – in other words, only those actions that violate the non-aggression principle are subject to legal regulation. Read more

Lord Ahmed – Was it Just?


Communicated to Dr Sean Gabb

Hi Sean,

Have you been following the story of Lord Ahmed?

He was jailed last month after admitting sending 3 text messages
and receiving 2 others about 10-15 minutes before a fatal
accident (2 minutes before he arrived on the scene) on the M1
near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on Christmas Day 2007.

It is widely accepted that the accident was in no way Ahmed’s
fault and the court accepted that the texting and accident were
un-related events.

Ahmed had no fault in the crash, as it happened 15 minutes
before he arrived at the crash site.  The crashed car was facing
the wrong direction in the fast lane when he arrived and swerved
violently to avoid it but unfortunately clipped the open door.
It had already been clipped by 2 other cars.

Martyn Gombar who was killed, was found to be drunk, which
some believe caused the crash in the first place as well as him
standing in such a dangerous place, trying to retrieve his phone.

The impact sadly killed Mr Gombar and briefly knocked Lord
Ahmed unconscious. It also resulted in injuries to his Wife and
Mother who were in the car.

Ahmed then got out to help warn other motorists before the
emergency services arrived.

It seems that the judge sent him to prison not because of anything
to do with the accident – which was not his fault – but because
he admitted to texting while driving.

This is not the first time that someone has gone to prison for this
and it will certainly not be the last.

So the question is: Did Lord Ahmed deserve to receive a prison
sentence for texting whilst driving?

Take the poll: http://btst.co.uk/poll4/

Whether he deserved it or not, I never, ever want this type of
thing to happen to any BTST Member and for that reason I called
my Installer Ian Roots of Iris In-Car last night and agreed a price
for BTST Members to have a Parrot Hands Free kit professionally
installed in your car.

I’ll email you the link later in the week when we have the page up.

All the best,

Adam Blair
Founder, BTST

Yeah this will really help “motorists”.


David Davis

It has always struck me that the word “motorist”, chiefly used by a certain sort of robotroid which is to say bureaucrats and “planner” types, sounds rather political. Nobody I know uses it in conversation or written prose – we tend to say “driver”, or “person”. So, when it appears you just know something bad’s coming next. It’s dressed up as “streamlining the process”… “making the system more tranparent and fair” … ” helping to fund integrated public transport links”… or some such Nazi guff.

Nobody seems to have spotted that convictions for “careless driving” could have declined because … people are more careful? Because modern cars – the population of which is inevitably rising – are “smarter”? One gets the feeling that the government, saying things like this…

“The level of enforcement is steadily dropping,” the Government noted in the consultation paper.

This, it is believed, has resulted in an increasing number of cases of careless driving going unpunished.

…is merely following in the footsteps of Stalin and Mao and their foul cockroach apparatchiks, chided by their bosses for not shooting enough bourgeoisie last month…..

Why not criminalise “driving while at the wheel” while they are about it? Or they could just be honest and state frankly that “really we don’t think private “motoring” should be allowed so we are going to ban it.”

Happy Christmas. Business as usual.