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THE ECONOMIC TORTS Inducing breach of contract

This tort has its roots in the Statute of Labourers 1381,4 although the action in its modern form dates from Lumley v Gye,5 a case concerning the inducement of breach of a contract of service. Here, the defendant impressario persuaded an opera singer, who was under a contract to sing at the plaintiff’s theatre, to break her contract with the plaintiff so as to perform at the defendant’s theatre. The principles contained in Lumley v Gye were subsequently applied to trade union strike action; extending the scope of the tort to include the inducement of breach of commercial supply contracts and contracts for the hire of goods and services.6