Children in Tort Law: Children as Tortfeasors and Victims

The project "Children in Tort Law" provides a comparative survey of the special protection awarded to children under tort law and is focussing on the legal systems of Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Especially in the field of tort law, in the last two decades national legislators have made provisions regarding the legal situation of children which go far beyond traditional topics like tortious liability and responsibility of the parents.

Problem areas of topical interest are, e.g., the question of children as tortfeasors and claims for compensation that threaten their (future) economic existence, or the question to what extent children as victims are liable for their own behaviour and the behaviour of their parents when it comes to assessing damages. The project also emphasises the controversial question whether insurance coverage of the minor tortfeasor has to be considered when establishing liability in equity. Because of the constantly increasing interdependencies between tort law and insurance law, a separate chapter deals with topics related to liability insurance of the child.

The project is based on a questionnaire according to which the various country reports are elaborated. As all our projects, it is concluded with a comparative analysis. The comparative method is capable of illuminating general principles in this particular area of the law, which so far has not been dealt with in a comprehensive manner. From the European perspective, a set of tools can be developed which not only balances the need of protection of children as tortfeasors and children as victims, but also helps national legislators to adapt the individual legal systems to the progress of modern society.