Regulatory Compliance as Defense in Risk Society: Viewing from Environmental Judicial Cases
Peking University Law Journal, Vol. 3, 2015, pp. 125-158
27 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2015
Date Written: May 16, 2015
In risk society, damages caused by activities in compliance with various regulations are very common. The issue of whether regulatory compliance can be a defense to tort liability acquires significance both in theory and practice. Falling into the twilight zone between private law and public law, however, this issue has yet been under-researched amongst China’s legal academics. Beginning by analyzing a widely-cited environmental tort lawsuit in China, this article reconsiders the issue by examining the related prevailing opinion and positive law in China, and drawing on the Endurance Limitation Theory from Japanese environmental law. Ultimately, it is proposed that in general the regulatory compliance shall be considered in deciding tort liability, and in specific cases the regulatory compliance shall be assigned different weight according to the specific category of the regulatory norms involved.
Keywords: risk regulation, regulatory compliance, environmental torts
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