Wrongs, Rights, and Remedies: A Yankee Romp in Recent European Tort Law
73 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2015 Last revised: 9 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 1, 2016
This article explores developments in European tort law reported by country at the 2015 European Tort Law Institute. Reported developments were selected for recurring themes and compared with analogous problems in U.S. tort law. Though by no means a statistical survey, the reports are indicative of contemporary issues of interest to informed European lawyers and educators. The recurring themes were (a) damages valuation and compensation for life and death; (b) multiple liabilities; (c) interplay of tort and insurance; (d) official liability and civil rights; and (e) consumer class actions. Analyzing these threads, the article concludes (1) that U.S. and European courts reason similarly on common problems in tort logistics, but differ in justification for employing equity and policy norms; (2) that U.S. and European courts similarly tend to defer to tort legislation, though differ in willingness to imbue statutory construction with normative discretion; and (3) that at least the sampled European courts exhibited a greater willingness than is common among U.S. courts to champion individual causes against the state. These comparisons afford an opportunity to study legal systems of variable geographic and cultural origin, and of common law and civil code tradition, as they wrestle with the simple yet intractable problem of how society should respond to civil wrongs.
Keywords: tort, injury, law, comparative, international, civil, code, common law, United States, Europe, court, jurisprudence, litigation, damages, insurance, government, liability, civil rights, class action, collective redress
JEL Classification: D18, D23, D30, D63, D74, H11, K13, K41, K42, N40, O51, O52, O57, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation