Conference: Human Rights and Tort Law, Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The goal of the “Human Rights and Tort Law” Conference is to provide a general overview and thorough analysis of how the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) deals with tort law issues such as causation, attribution of liability, heads of damage as well as the assessment and the award of damages – particularly in respect of Article 41 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The following questions will be addressed:

  • What methods are adopted by the Court and what methods should be adopted when interpreting the Convention?
  • How is Article 41 ECHR (“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party”) interpreted and applied? Is there a set of principles the Court follows when awarding “just satisfaction”?
  • How is the term “just” interpreted by the Court and how should it be interpreted in the context of assessment and apportionment of damage? Are the concepts of justice in public international law, national public law and tort law congruent? What are the overall yardsticks in ascertaining justice?
  • What elements does the Court take into account when establishing causation?
  • What kinds of damage (pecuniary/non-pecuniary loss) are usually compensated and to what extent are damages and non-compensatory remedies (e.g. punitive damages, nominal damages, satisfaction by finding a violation) awarded?
  • How can damages be reduced, e.g. in cases of contributory negligence? Is there a reduction clause?
  • What is the Court's approach to the law of evidence concerning these matters?

These issues will be examined on the basis of a comprehensive selection and detailed analysis of the Court’s judgments and a thorough study of the most important literature dealing with the topics. The findings will be compared with the Principles of European Tort Law and the tort law systems of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey and the Common Law.

This one-day Conference will bring together a distinguished panel of scholars and judges of the ECtHR as keynote speakers. There will be ample room for discussion, both at the Conference as well as informally.

Complete Programme with Registration Form (*.pdf, 1.8 MB)

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