Toward Tort Liability for Bad Samaritans


  • Allen Linden Retired Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal



Good Samaritan laws are common throughout Canada and the United States. The rationale

for the development of Good Samaritans law has been that the benefit of immunity for Good

Samaritans is more altruistic than the punishment of liability for Bad Samaritans. However,

our tort law’s declaration that one need not assist one in danger weakens the moral stature

of our law. Our law supports those who do the right thing and denounces those who do the

wrong thing. The intrusiveness of liability for bystanders is usually argued against Bad

Samaritan laws. However potential liability is rare; the moral stature of our law is worth

the effort to resolve this issue.