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“Cause of Action” – What is it?

A cause of action is ‘the fact or facts which give a person a right to judicial relief”. A right to a judicial relief without any facts backing up does not give rise to a cause of action. Equally, not every fact or situation or problem or loss or negative event gives right to judicial relief. Having a “cause of action” lies in having facts regarding which the law recognizes a right to sue.

A useful example would be this:   I may walk up to you and hold up, say, three fingers. That rather odd and perhaps unsettling act does not, in and of itself, create a “cause of action” because you can’t sue me for holding three fingers in the air. If, on the other hand, that was a hand gesture used by those who once regularly beat you within an inch of your life (and I knew or ought to have known that) then you might have a “cause of action” in that you now have grounds to sue me for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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