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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: November 2010

2 - Establishing a general framework for liability



Before examining in detail the conditions for vicarious liability in modern legal systems, it is important, especially in a comparative study, to identify the basic legal framework for such claims. As stated in Chapter 1, the doctrine of vicarious liability, by which we mean strict liability for the tortious acts of another, possesses a similar legal framework whether derived from case law or code. This chapter will therefore examine the fundamental elements of any such claim and clarify the key terminology used, the role of fault and the extent to which the person held strictly liable may require the tortfeasor to indemnify him for compensation paid to the victim. It will conclude with a brief overview of the relationship between liability in tort for the wrongful acts of others and other areas of private law liability, such as contract and criminal law. This is particularly relevant in the context of civilian systems where the relationship between tort and other areas of private law may surprise common lawyers, who take for granted the existence of concurrent liability in contract and tort law, that public authorities should be subject to the ordinary principles of tort law, and that a clear division exists between criminal and civil liability. Whilst in all modern legal systems there is an obvious overlap between tort law and the provisions of social security and insurance law, an understanding of the structure of civilian systems will help the reader understand the legal developments described elsewhere in this book.

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