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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: October 2016

3 - Analysis of Existing Legal Regimes

Summary

Introduction

The goal to be achieved in this chapter is to analyze existing legal arrangements to cover civil liability for offshore incidents. In addition, a number of related regimes will be discussed equally dealing with catastrophic risk because they may constitute interesting examples for a liability regime for offshore-related risks. It is of course impossible to discuss all existing legal arrangements. We will therefore focus on the legal regime in some EU Member States, from which we have obviously selected Member States that have many offshore installations and thus a larger exposure to potential liability. However, a highly interesting non-EU country is Norway. As Chapter 2 indicated, Norway has an impressive number of offshore installations, and therefore, an analysis of its legal regime is important as well. In addition to the European Union, the civil liability regime of some other major offshore nations such as the United States and Australia will be briefly addressed. Moreover, it also may be interesting to look at regional, multi-lateral and bilateral arrangements, as well as at the way civil liability is dealt with in other high-risk sectors (e.g. in particular, the nuclear industry). Looking at the nuclear industry may constitute an interesting example of how a liability regime for offshore installations could be shaped as well, or at least the study of the nuclear liability regime may show some problematic aspects from which a potential EU offshore liability regime could learn. Therefore, the nuclear liability regime will be analyzed in a rather detailed way. The reason is especially that the international nuclear liability regime has been the subject of a lot of criticism because of low limits on the liability of nuclear power plant operators and because of public funding of the compensation. In this respect, a comparison with the US Price-Anderson Act is quite interesting because public funding is absent, and moreover, a system of retrospective pooling is introduced which does not necessitate money to be paid ex ante but is based rather on ex post retrospective premiums. This may be an interesting model for the compensation for damage caused by offshore installations as well.

The remainder of this chapter is structured as follows: first, the international legal framework will be presented (3.2); then some regional arrangements concerning offshore liability regimes will be discussed (3.3).