Private Liability for Public Health

12 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020

See all articles by Jerrold Soh

Jerrold Soh

Singapore Management University School of Law; Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance

Date Written: June 14, 2020

Abstract

COVID-19 continues to spread around the world. Most disease transmissions are (one hopes) unintentional. But could one nonetheless be liable for unintentionally, yet carelessly, transmitting the disease? If so, when would liability arise, and how wide may its scope be? This essay discusses how private liability might complement public regulation in the battle against COVID-19. It first examines the law and economics case for establishing private liability for public health. It then explores causes of action that victims may bring against disease transmitters, focusing on battery and negligence. Legal issues arising from such claims, particularly surrounding the vexed question of disease causation, are examined. The essay finally explores auxiliary issues surrounding transmission liability, namely secondary victim claims as well as business (employer/occupier) liability.

Keywords: COVID-19, law, tort liability

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Soh, Jerrold, Private Liability for Public Health (June 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3692130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3692130

Jerrold Soh (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore
Singapore

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