Civil Law and Pure Economic Loss: What Are We Missing?
Canadian Business Law Journal, Vol. 12, p. 295, 1986-1987
17 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2010
Date Written: 1987
The controversy surrounding the recovery at common law of negligently caused pure economic loss is a source of great wonderment for a civilian. Indeed, there does not appear to be, within civil law jurisdictions, any analogous debate on the nature of the prejudice entitling an injured party to claim compensation. Civil law knows of no rule precluding the recovery of pure economic loss as a category. Therefore, the mass of scholarly discussions is bound to unsettle the civilian: are we missing something important?
This paper presents an overview of the manner in which civil law responds to the concerns embodied in the concept of pure economic loss. From a civilian's point of view, the various problems discussed under this heading are heterogeneous. It is likely that common lawyers recognize the somewhat artificial nature of the category of pure economic loss. Yet, it is a catalyst for important debates about the foundation, function and domain of tort liability. This makes it an ideal concept for a comparative endeavor. In order to make this comparison more significant, however, it will be necessary to articulate my understanding of the various preoccupations underlying the judicial and doctrinal discussions of pure economic loss. I shall then turn to the civil law to look for signs of these preoccupations in its categories of reasoning.
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