The Role of Environmental Civil Liability: An Economic Analysis of the French Legal System

Environmental Liability, Law, Policy and Practice, vol. 20(4), 2012, 120-128

10 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2013

See all articles by Pierre Bentata

Pierre Bentata

ESC Troyes

Michael G. Faure

University of Maastricht - Faculty of Law, Metro; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law

Date Written: October 2, 2013

Abstract

This study analyses the long standing question whether environmental risks and accidents can be sufficiently controlled under a civil liability regime. The literature generally holds that regulation should be the primary instrument to promote environmental care, but that environmental liability can have a supplementary effect. However, little is known empirically on how environmental liability actually supplements regulation and whether this combination can in fact be considered efficient. This paper uses a dataset from France with all environmental cases that reach the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) in the past 50 years, analysing how courts play such a supplementary role in addition to regulation. It is argued that regulators do provide judges with relevant information to help solve causal uncertainty problems, but that on the other hand liability rules are especially applied when regulation is weak. The data we provide hence lend some support to the hypothesis that environmental liability plays an important supplemtary function in deterring environmental harm in combination with regulation.

Keywords: causation, causal uncertainty, deterrence, environmental liability, compliance, regulation, environmental pollution

JEL Classification: K32, K41, K13

Suggested Citation

Bentata, Pierre and Faure, Michael G., The Role of Environmental Civil Liability: An Economic Analysis of the French Legal System (October 2, 2013). Environmental Liability, Law, Policy and Practice, vol. 20(4), 2012, 120-128. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2334621 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2334621

Pierre Bentata

ESC Troyes ( email )

217 Avenue Pierre BROSSOLETTE
Troyes, 10002
France

Michael G. Faure (Contact Author)

University of Maastricht - Faculty of Law, Metro ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
+31 - 43 - 388 30 60 (Phone)
+31 - 43 - 325 90 91 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.michaelfaure.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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