This course focusses on the central themes of tort law from a comparative, transnational (EU-law) and international (global) perspective. Both the protection of the person (liability for personal injury) as well as economic interests (liability for economic damages, cf. business torts) will be subject to analysis.
After an introduction about the functions of tort law and the approaches and policies of the various systems, the first part of the course deals with the exploration, in comparative perspective, of the main requirements for liability for one’s own conduct: protected interests, negligence and unlawfulness, breach of statutory duty, stricter rules of liability, causation, damages and contributory negligence. The course continues with the examination of the national, European and non-European rules applied in various categories of tort law, such as liability of public authorities, liability for defective products, for motor vehicles, for employees, for children and for premises.
Other important issues will be explored, such as the statutes of limitations, punitive damages, mass tort claims, the interaction of tort and contract law (cf. exculpation clauses) and the relation between tort law and liability insurance.
The course further examines the attempts to create more coherence and even harmonisation within the various systems of tortious liability (Restatement of Torts (Second and Third), Draft Common Frame of Reference, Principles of European Tort Law). The final part of the course deals with the impact of supranational and international law and questions of international private law (Regulation Rome II).