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THERE ARE FEW CONCEPTS in law more hotly contested than negligence. In popular usage, negligence is defined as carelessness and is commonly contrasted with intentional or deliberate harm. In legislation and the courts, however, it has evolved over several centuries into a complex, multi-faceted concept which was subject to competing interpretations by legal theorists, politicians, and the courts.

Negligence is a key legal term in both criminal and civil law. While there have been some cases of criminal negligence in the area of white-collar and corporate crime, it is in civil law where negligence has been most utilized. Indeed, negligence is the most important component of modern tort law, the law of civil wrongs, and is frequently relied upon in cases involving personal injury or death ...

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