Human Rights and Tort Law

The European Centre of Tort and Insurance Law is supporting the Institute for European Tort Law of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ETL) on a project dealing with Human Rights and Tort Law.

The goal of this project 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 damage, causation, wrongfulness and fault, the protective purpose of rules, the compensation of pecuniary and non-pecuniary loss, non-compensatory remedies, reduction of damages due to contributory negligence and reduction clauses - namely when applying Article 41 of the Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

These issues will be examined on the basis of a comprehensive selection and detailed analysis of the Court's judgments.

The results of the above analysis will be compared with general principles of EC Tort Law, the Principles of European Tort Law as well as the national tort law systems of Austria, Belgium, England and Wales, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Scandinavian Countries, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.

The study also contains five special reports on the following topics: 'Methodological Approaches to the Tort Law of the ECHR' (written by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Franz Bydlinski, em. Vienna University), 'Human Rights and Tort Law' (by Prof. Dr. Walter Berka, Salzburg University), 'Just Satisfaction’ in Art 41 ECHR and Public International Law – Issues of Interpretation and Review of International Materials' (by Prof. Dr. Wolfram Karl, Salzburg University), 'Just Satisfaction under Art 41 ECHR: A Compromise in 1950 – Problematic Now' (by DDr. Elisabeth Steiner, Austrian Judge at the ECtHR in Strasbourg) and 'Can the Reparation Awarded to Victims of Violations under the ECHR be Considered as Real ‘Just’ Satisfaction?' (by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michel de Salvia, Professor at Cattolica del Sacro Cuore University, Milan, Vice-President of the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg and former Registrar and Jurisconsult at the ECtHR) (the contributions by Prof. Bydlinski and Prof. Berka will also be published in German). Concluding remarks are included.

Since the topic of this project is by its nature a question of tort law - liability of public authorities as well as state liability follow general tort law principles - the team of legal experts working on this project is mainly composed of private law jurists of the Institute for European Tort Law of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ETL), the European Centre of Tort and Insurance Law (ECTIL), Vienna, and from outside.

Project leaders are Prof. Dr. Attila Fenyves (Vienna University), Prof. Dr. Ernst Karner (Vienna University), Prof. i.R. Dr. Dr. h.c. Helmut Koziol (ECTIL/ETL, Vienna) and DDr. Elisabeth Steiner (Austrian Judge at the ECtHR in Strasbourg).  

On 1 December 2009 a public conference on "Human Rights and Tort Law" took place in Vienna.

The results of the study were published in November 2011 in volume 30 of the "Tort and Insurance Law" series: