- Conference on Human Rights and Tort Law, December 1, 2009
- Medical Malpractice in Global Context Conference, December 3-4, 2010
- Symposium: Journalistic Privilege 20 March 4:30pm
- 9th Annual Conference on European Tort Law 8-10 April 2010
- Symposium: Presserat – quo vadis? March 31, 2011, 4:30 pm
- Media Governance between Law and Self-Regulation, 5. November, 2009, 16.30
- Previous Juristenrunden
- Symposium: WikiLeaks – New Rules for New Forms of Communication?, October 6, 2011
The Institute regularly holds public lectures or Juristenrunden
which act as a forum for both ETL staff as well as invited and visiting scholars to present on a wide range of topics.
Here you can find an archive of Juristenrunden
given recently at the Institute:
26 November 2009
The spectre of a tortious constitutional remedy for length of proceedings: a uniquely Irish solution to a European problem
Cases involving excessively lengthy legal proceedings in breach of article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, have only recently come to light as a problem in the Irish legal system. This problem has itself dogged other European legal systems for a long time. In a recent case, the Irish Supreme Court has for the first time mooted a potential constitutional remedy for this problem. Stuart Wallace analyses the compatibility of this new remedy with European standards and the approaches adopted by other jurisdictions to this problem. The lecture also provides an overview of the Irish legal system and the development of constitutional rights.
Stuart Wallace is a doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Nottingham.
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1 March 2010
Colm McGrath & Thomas Thiede
Methodology in Comparative Law: Functionalism in Theory and Practice
This lecture sets out the history and theory behind the most frequently used methodological tool of comparative law. The speakers will offer a personal critique of functionalism, highlighting the dangers of in assuming similarity of the subjects being compared and touch on the socio-legal implications for research adopting this methodology. They will also offer a practical example in the field of personality rights as to how a functionalist comparative study can be successfully done. The lecture will end with a brief overview of other possible methodological approaches to comparative law generally along with the specific implications for harmonisation projects within Europe.
Both speakers are members of staff at ETL.
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15 April 2010
Prof. Dr. T.J. Scott
Unlawful arrest in South Africa
After an increasing number of cases of unlawful arrest in South Africa Prof Scott addressed the surrounding legal framework and draws out a number of parallels between the systems of Europe and the mixed common and civil system that governs South Africa.
Prof. Scott is Professor of Private Law at the University of Pretoria
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1 June 2010
Mag. Laura Ascher
The new Chinese Tort Law - What is going to change in July, 2010?
Following widespread consultation with scholar from all over the world, including many from various European systems, a new tort law is being introduced by statute in China. This lecture set out the long history and development of tort law in China up to the modern day and examined the institutional features of the Chinese legal system generally. The speaker went on to detail the provisions of the new law and assess its likely impact in various specialist areas such as medical malpractice and road traffic accidents.
Laura Ascher is an assistant at the Institute for Civil Law at the University of Vienna.
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29 July 2010
In Vino (Non) Veritas? Why Alcohol Liability should Activate the Common Law
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22 September 2010, 10 am
Much has been written of 'judicial activism' in the contexts of the role of the judiciary and the methodology of the common law. Yet there is equally a case for consideration of what might be termed 'judicial in-activism'. This presentation discusses this issue, drawing upon the paradoxes and contradictions that the law exhibits towards alcohol sales and consumption and the multifarious harms that result from it, whether directly or indirectly. It asks whether this provides a case for 'judicial activism' (given parliamentary inaction), given the many deaths and injuries of young people in particular, across the common law world. It compares in particular the view of former High Court of Australia judge, Michael Kirby, of the communitarian role of the law of torts, which also emphasises the commercial aspects to clubs or bars that provide alcohol, with the recent decision of the High Court of Australia in CAL No 14 v Scott  HCA, which unanimously decided there was no 'alcohol liability' incumbent upon hoteliers, over-turning the Tasmanian Supreme Court in the process. It critiques the prevailing thematic view of the High Court that 'personal responsibility' (and notions of individual 'free will' and 'autonomy') now underpin the law of torts, and specifically negligence, even in the situation of one completely 'sozzled' by alcohol. It is this curious mix of personal responsibility even where capacity is seriously diminished, that so troubles and vexes the law in this area, and most particularly it appears, the common law. Whether this is also an issue in European jurisdictions will hopefully feature in discussion. This lecture was drawn from a paper written by Barbara Hocking and Scott Guy
Barbara Hocking is Associate Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology
Ronen Perry (Haifa)
Civil Liability for Marine Oil Pollution: The Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon
This paper, which follows up on recently published work, uses the unprecedented disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as an opportunity to critically evaluate the law pertaining to civil liability for oil pollution in the U.S. before and after the enactment of the Oil Pollution Act. This topic is analyzed as a derivative of a more general concern, namely the internal harmony of civil liability regimes. The article unveils a general incongruity in American land-based and maritime tort law that surfaced through the Exxon Valdez litigation, and examines whether subsequent statutory reform has eliminated the problem in the limited context of marine oil pollution, using the Deepwater Horizon incident as a test case.
Part I systematically discusses pre-OPA law. It focuses mainly on two salient features of the Exxon Valdez litigation, namely - exclusion of liability for purely economic losses, and punitive damages.
Part II explains why pre-OPA maritime law gave rise to incongruity on the justificatory level, delineates the contours of the problem, and proposes a conceptual framework for resolution.
Part III examines whether the enactment of the OPA has created a more defensible liability regime.
Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there have been calls for raising the OPA liability caps, or an even more comprehensive legislative reform. While some of the initiatives seem to have waned, this catastrophic incident, like the earlier Exxon Valdez case, will surely leave its mark. The article, which highlights relevant policy concerns, will undoubtedly serve policymakers in reassessing the limits of civil liability for marine oil pollution.
29 September 2010, 10 am
Neil Foster (Newcastle)
The Civil Action for Breach of Statutory Duty in the Common Law
The tort action for Breach of Statutory Duty provides an intersection between the goals of private law and ‘public’ goals as determined by legislation. But the question as to when, in what circumstances, and why, a civil action should be available to a claimant whose statutory rights have been breached continues to be agitated. This paper argues that the tort, far from deserving the accusations of incoherence and unpredictability sometimes levelled at it, has a respectable and coherent history and justification within the common law of torts. There are reasons for doubting whether it should have been abolished in Canada, and its abolition has caused a distortion of the law of negligence in that jurisdiction. The tort is one that in other common law jurisdictions has continued, and should continue, to operate as an important part of the mechanism of private law for vindicating rights created by the shapers of public values, the legislature.
13 October 2010, 10 am
Gert Brüggemeier (Bremen)
European Civil Liability Law outside Europe - The Example of the Big Three: China, Brazil and Russia
The industrialisation of society posed the greatest challenge to classical Pandectist civil law in the 19th century. Up to now civil liability law in Europe has been in search of adequate answers (cf. PETL, DCFR VI). In this lecture the focus is on three non-European states which nevertheless up to now have been heavily influenced by the Germano-Romanistic legal tradition. The lecture will seek to assess how the three large economies of China, Brazil and Russia designed the liability law in their recent codifications to match the demands of (post-industrial) societies.
8 November 2010, 10 am
Martín García-Ripoll (Universidad de Murcia)
Unlawfulness in Western European Tort Law
One of the most discussed elements of tort law in the various countries of Europe is unlawfulness, a concept of German origin. The talk aims at presenting the actual situation in different jurisdictions, the origin of the notion and whether the unlawfulness, as is much discussed in the German literature, refers to the conduct or the result. It will continue with what the lecturer considers the gist of this element, dealing with negligence and intentionality as forms of unlawfulness, ending with culpability or fault in a subjective sense. It will finish with a brief summary of the likely utility of unlawfulness in European Tort Law.
14 February 2011, 10 am
Prof. Barbara Hocking (Faculty of Law, QUT, Brisbane) and Dr Yegu Muthu (Faculty of Law, UTS, Sydney)
How not to teach Torts from a Toolbox?
Torts scholar Robert Stevens has sought to reconceptualise the law of torts, notably arguing that torts texts are organised like a motorbike manual, as he says eloquently in his Preface. As we have progressed through our own textbook on torts, we have struggled with the difficulty of avoiding the 'motorcycle maintenance manual' mentality. This is by no means a problem unique to tort law, some might suggest it bedevils most law subjects and most law degrees too. The persistent compartmentalisation of law into ‘areas’ such as torts, contract, criminal, all with their own minutiae of rules and exceptions to rules, masks wider considerations and principles of justice – as feminist legal scholars were at pains to point out at least twenty years ago – yet the problem persists. 'Justice' in the traditional law textbook manual, is siphoned out of law and sacrificed for the sake of law’s many rules, which can apparently be taught irrespective of their political and social implications. Little wonder that the son of one of the two presenters today was told when he barely passed his torts essay 'you made it more complicated than you needed'. Was justice the complication? And if so, how can torts textbooks today better reflect it?
In this talk we hope to get ideas as to how to translate these theories of tort law into a text that still provides students with full knowledge of the legal rules. How can we, for example, explore tort’s potential re environmental, cyber and related new harms, which would not readily 'fit' within a 'motorcycle manual'?
20 June 2011, 2pm
Prof Pinghua Zhang (Yantai)
Is there a numerus clausus of solidary liability in tort law?
27 June 2011, 10am
Prof Ellen Bublick (Arizona)
Liability for Economic Loss: Establishing Consistent Norms
In the United States, tort law is determined at the state rather than the federal level. As a consequence, rules concerning liability for economic loss can vary significantly among the fifty states. In her talk, Professor Bublick will address the traditional way in which states in the United States have approached liability for economic loss, as well as some conflicting current approaches. Professor Bublick will then discuss efforts in the United States to harmonize disparate state law, and the ways in which those efforts can draw from European efforts at harmonization.
1 August 2011, 10am
Vaidas Jurkevicius (Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Trends and Relevant Questions of Lithuanian Tort Law
Lithuania is one of several countries in Eastern Europe that are currently implementing modern civil law codification. Tort liability is one of the most discussed and probably the least understood areas of civil law after the new Civil Code of Lithuania entered into force on July 1, 2001. The lack of profound understanding of liability in tort results in the wrong interpretation and application of appropriate legal norms in court practice that will be presented during the lecture. Vaidas Jurkevi
čius will clarify characteristics of Lithuanian tort law in comparison with other legal systems. The presentation will also touch on soft law.
25 August 2011, 10am
Tomas Puksmys (Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Prävention im litauischen Haftungsrecht
Die zentrale Funktion des Schadenersatzrecht ist der Ausgleich des erlittenen Schadens, die Kompensation: Der Geschädigte soll so gestellt werden, wie er ohne das schädigende Ereignis stehen würde. Bei einem Ersatz immaterieller Schäden wird im deutschen Recht hingegen der Gedanke der Prävention betont. Der Vortag wird das litauische Recht des Ersatzes immaterieller Schäden für Persönlichkeitsrechtsverletzungen behandeln und die Rolle der Präventivfunktion in Auseinandersetzung mit der deutschen Lehre untersuchen.
29 August 2011, 10am
Olesya Petrol (Lomonosov University, Moscow, Russia)
Russian Tort Law: General Clause or Protected Rights System?
Basic provisions of Russian tort law were formed in the era of the USSR and thus heavily influenced by the ideas favored at that time. The architecture of Russian tort law is quite common and consists of such elements as damage, fault, causation and wrongfulness. Ms Petrol will elaborate on these elements and their interplay under Russian tort law from a comparative and historical perspective. As in many other jurisdictions the demarcation between tort and contract under Russian law is quite unclear. Ms Petrol will show where tort liability under Russian law ends. She will also address the main challenges of Russian tort law, in particular proof and the calculation of damages. Today, Russian tort law is on a crossroads as to how it will develop – towards Europe, alongside Europe or stand alone in its unique way? Ms Petrol will provide the audience with her point of view based on the recent decisions of the Russian courts.
29 September 2011, 10am
Prof Christopher Miller (University of Salford, UK)
30 November 2011
Causation after Sienkiewicz
: The Confusion continues
Earlier this year the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was required, for the first time, to venture into the labyrinth which the common law of causation in negligence has become. Its decision (in Sienkiewicz v Greif (UK)) recognised the confusion which the House of Lords had earlier created when determining other cases which also involved liability for negligent increases in risk. By looking at recent tobacco, vaccine and defective drug cases, in addition to asbestos-related litigation, it will be argued that the underlying confusion can be addressed only when the judiciary becomes less suspicious of statistical evidence of causation in personal injury.
Eva Ondreasova (Wien)
Liability for damage caused by helpers and liability for damage caused by representatives in Austrian Law
In Austrian Law, liability for damage caused by representatives and the Austrian form of vicarious liability – liability for helpers – are often mentioned in one breath. Yet in order to fully grasp their role in light of any planned reforms of tort law, it is necessary to examine their specific function and place in the system of tort law. Does the liability for damage caused by representatives have a place next to a broader and reformed liability for helpers or is its sole function to bridge the gap left by a 200-year-old rule no longer fit for the modern commercial world? What is the ideal scope of both the liability for helpers and the liability for damage caused by representatives? To outline possible answers to these questions will be the focus of my presentation.
5 December 2011, 5pm
Israeli Supreme Court Justice (Ret) Izhak Englard
Punitive Damages – A Modern Conundrum of Ancient Origin
29 February 2012, 5pm
Christophe Quezel-Ambrunaz (Université de Grenoble) and Philippe Brun (Université de Savoie)
French Tort Law Facing Reform: A Presentation by GRERCA's Researchers
The Groupe de Recherche Européen sur la Responsabilité Civile et l'Assurance (European Group for Researches on Tort and Insurance Law, GRERCA see: http://grerca.univ-rennes1.fr/) was set up following the observation that French tort law is only slightly present in the European drafts for reform, such as PETL and the DCFR. The national statutes on this matter are two hundred years old, and the case law is prolific and confusing. Several national projects intend to reform national law.
The work of GRERCA involves a comparison of national and European projects and national positive law. The aim of this lecture is to highlight some aspects of this research, such as the place of fault liability in tort, the concept of protected interests, liability for things in one’s custody, the definition of causation, etc.
3 September 2012, 10am
Paul Reichert – Research Officer at ELI
Liability of states and public authorities in cases of negligent financial supervision
The need for a tight regulation of financial markets has led to numerous new European legislative measures aimed at tackling the financial crisis, stabilising the banking system and protecting depositors. This has led to an increased formalisation that in light of the normally limited compensation from deposit guarantee systems has influenced depositors to shift residual losses onto the public sector via liability claims against the State or the responsible supervisory authority.
Whereas the ECJ in the Peter Paul case (C-222/02) refused to find in prudential supervision a clear depositor protection in order to grant Francovich liability, national law varies between total immunity (eg Germany), liability under more stringent conditions than usual (eg France) and – at least until very recently – liability regardless of a special liability criteria such as gross negligence (eg the Netherlands and Italy). The recent transformations in EU banking law could increase pressure for a reconsideration of national liability rules. As different liability regimes create different market conditions and different levels of consumer protection in the domestic market, a fundamental European debate seems overdue