Strict liability and the aims of tort law. A doctrinal, comparative, and normative study of strict liability regimes
PhD student: Mr A.D. On
Promotor: Prof J.M. Smits
Duration: 1/10/2014 - 30/9/2018
PhD defence: Maastricht, 1/12/2020
Moral Philosophy fuels the law of torts with its most basic concepts: responsibility, duty, fault, freedom, and power. Modern legal literature is not oblivious of the moral origins of the conceptual framework of the law of torts, but moral philosophy remains an untapped resource for the understanding of tort law. In particular, the law of strict liability has rarely been addressed in terms of its moral foundations. But is there a moral basis for tort law mechanisms that exclude notions of wrongfulness and fault? The answer lies within a forward-looking approach on the fundamentally moral notion of responsibility. This will entail looking into how the law of strict liability is connected to the moral notion of responsibility. In answering this question, the research conducted will look into the relationship between notions of power and control and the proliferation of strict liability regimes, the common traits of strict liability regimes in France, England and the United States, as well as the differences between these three jurisdictions, and why they exist.