First Place in Essay Writing Competition:THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TORTS AND CONTRACTS (FOR THE LAYPERSON) by James Quartey

The “Amen” that thundered through the tro-tro jolted me from dreamland. I jerked my head upwards, just in time to see Prophet Tutulapaatu draw out two thick glass bottles. He waved them triumphantly into the air, smiling.

Facing us the passengers, Tutulapaatu roared, “I represent LAPAATU MINISTRIES & COMPANY LIMITED.” Nodding at the bottles, he continued, “These are Coroblade Bitters. A bottle is for sale at GHS100. Yahweh, appearing to me at the Mount of Olives gave me the formula.” The crowd gasped in anticipation.

Knowing he had hit home, he continued, “Anyone who uses this bottle 3 times daily for 7 days, per the bottle’s directions and contracts coronavirus will be paid GHS5,000 by my company. In fact, the GHS5,000 has been deposited with Aboskiti-Chartered Bank, showing my sincerity in the matter.”

No sooner had he finished speaking than myriads of GHS100 notes shot up in the air. Tutulapaatu had just made an offer. Thus, a Coroblade buyer, in the event of using it 3 times daily for 7 days, per the bottle’s instructions would have accepted the offer, thereby creating a contract. Under those circumstances, Tutulapaatu would be under obligation to pay GHS5,000 to that particular buyer.

This obligation would arise from the prior agreement of Tutulapaatu with the buyer to pay him/her GHS5,000 if he/she used Coroblade 3 times daily for 7 days and still contracted coronavirus. With contracts, obligations arise from the agreement between the parties involved.

As Tutulapaatu continued with his sales, Oopana, the bus conductor angrily asked him to exit the bus due to the charged atmosphere. The prophet took offence. Within seconds, he yanked out a Coroblade bottle from his bag and whacked Oopana’s head with it.

Instantly, Tutulapaatu had committed a tort. A tort is a wrongful act against a person’s body or property without his consent. Tutulapaatu was under an obligation to desist from committing such wrongful acts against another without that person’s consent.

Thus, he was under an obligation to refrain from striking Oopana with the bottle. This obligation didn’t arise from any agreement between him and Oopana. The obligation was imposed on him by the law. Unlike contracts, obligations arising from torts are independent of any agreement between the parties involved.

Realizing his misconduct, the prophet attempted jumping out of the vehicle but was dragged back by some passengers who asked the driver to stop the bus.