Broken/Gross negligence

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In English civil law, it is not clear whether there is a tort of 'gross negligence' (also called Culpa lata) as distinct from 'ordinary' Negligence. The term does occasionally appear in the law reports, usually in an emphatic, rather than a precisely legalistic, sense. Since the usual objective of the law of tort is to compensate the claimant for the loss or damage he has suffered, not to punish the defendant, in principle it makes little difference whether the actions of the Tort-feasor are 'grossly' negligent or ordinarily negligent. The same compensation is, in principle, available in both cases. In Hinton v Dibber (1842) 2 QB 646 Lord Denman expressed doubt that there even is any meaningful distinction to be drawn.

The term 'gross negligence' does, however, have a place in the criminal law, usually in Manslaughter. Here the term describes an action that is more culpable than merely negligent, but not necessarily 'reckless' as the term is understood in criminal law.