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A History of Private Law in Scotland: Volume 2: Obligations$
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Kenneth Reid and Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299288

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299288.001.0001

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Strict Liability

Strict Liability

(p.548) 18 Strict Liability
A History of Private Law in Scotland: Volume 2: Obligations



Oxford University Press

One of the remarkable achievements of the Roman jurisprudence was the introduction and development of the notion of culpability or fault. Within the context of classical law, culpa had an important role in the determination of the liability of a person in a situation where there was a breach of contract or when a person committed a wrongful act. At the same time however, there were situations where liability did not depend on fault. Recognizing the concept of an implied guarantee, Roman lawyers developed a liability for any loss not attributable to vis maior. And outside the area of contract law, they made an entire branch of their scheme of obligations in order to accommodate instances of no-fault liability where a person was held responsible not for his failure to display the diligence of bonus paterfamilias but because he was in control of a potential source of danger to other people’s lives, health, and property. This chapter discusses strict liability, a liability that is not dependent on the need to prove culpability or negligence. It traces the history of the acceptance of the Scots law of the notion of strict liability through several discourses that chronicles the development of strict liability within the literature of other countries and Scotland and the practice of strict liability in other countries and within Scotland. The first section of the chapter discusses liability for animals. The next section tackles quasi-delictual liability and the development of strict liability within the laws of Scotland.

Keywords:   culpability, fault, culpa, liability, no-fault liability, strict liability, quasi-delictual liability

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