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Home > Research > Projects > New technology and tort
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New technology and tort

Project: Non-funded ProjectProjects

5/12/12 → …

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Dr Chatterjee is currently working on a project exploring the impacts of new technology on tort. She presented a paper on this at the 2013 Law and the Senses Conference at Westminster, London. The conference was highly experimental, seeking a blend of art, performance and academia with a focus on creativity. Accordingly, the abstract and bio (see attached documents) seek to reflect the spirit of the conference. Below is a short synopsis of the issues covered.

In English law, secondary victims suffering psychiatric damage must establish certain well-known proximities with primary victims in order to recover. As outlined in key cases such as Alcock, a close relationship of love and affection must exist between the primary and secondary victim, as well as a sufficiently proximate and personal perception of events in terms of time and space. Liability ought not to lie where the claimant is simply informed of the accident by a third party, and the harm must have been induced by sudden shock. In this paper, drawing from academic work on new media and visual culture, I review and challenge the judicial conceptualisation of time, space, relationships and perception as articulated in the leading cases. I consider whether the development and proliferation of contemporary media technology, including (but certainly not limited to) new social media, has the capacity to create alternative ‘digital proximities’, a prospect which has implications for the current contours of both liability and recovery in the field of negligently inflicted psychiatric damage.

Keywords
negligence
psychiatric damage
new social media
proximity