European Tort Law - An Integrated or Compartmentalized Approach?
Willem H. Van Boom
Leiden Law School
January 1, 2008
EUROPEAN PRIVATE LAW BEYOND THE COMMON FRAME OF REFERENCE - ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF REINHARD ZIMMERMANN, Antoni Vaquer, ed., Europa Law Publishing, 2008
The existing modest body of European tort law is, by necessity, an organically grown set of various rules, entered into force as a result of piecemeal legislative effort, sometimes of a contradictory nature in practice, and always lacking the dogmatic depths and overarching aspirations that national systems of private law tend to have. Working with this material necessitates a compartmentalized approach. By addressing the policy issues involved in each of these torts one by one, the European Union can make harmonized tort law more attainable.
Rather than discussing the intricacies of tort theory, the quest should be aimed at finding a concrete balance between the interests of those involved in specific torts - businesses, consumers, and the insurance industry. In this paper I try to demonstrate that such an approach would take us away from projects aimed at restating 'Principles' and would lead to a more compartmentalized approach. Social and cultural divergence and differences in domestic preferences in the tort area do not necessarily exclude some level of harmonization in concrete 'tort files' as long as there is the political will and perceived need for harmonization. This paper identifies a number of torts that seem more ready for harmonization than others.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: European private law, tort law, harmonization
JEL Classification: K13
Date posted: July 1, 2008 ; Last revised: November 4, 2009