Guido Calabresi on Torts: Italian Courts and the Cheapest Cost Avoider
34 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 2, 2009
Guido Calabresi proposed to replace the dominating paradigm of fault with simpler strict liability rules that put liability on the most appropriate actors (the cheapest cost avoiders). Assuming that the objective function of the tort system is the mimimization of the sum of the injury and injury avoidance costs associated with accidents (primary costs), risk-spreading costs (secondary costs), and administrative costs (tertiary costs), he suggested that the adoption of strict liability, targeted to specified activities, would achieve the goal of cost minimization. The core of an extremely richer message was that the cheapest cost avoider test would abate the administrative costs of courts. Moreover, the manufacturers’ ability to spread the costs of strict liability through the prices charged for their products would effectively insure product users against the risks of injury. This masterpiece of normative analysis has deployed an ever increasing influence on thinking about tort law, not only in the US but also in Europe. This paper aims to trace the impact of Calabresi’s ideas on Italian case-law.
Keywords: cheapest cost avoiders, tort law, Italian case-law, Calabresi
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