This chapter looks at the possibilities and impossibilities of an ius commune, a common European law, particularly in the area of tort law. There has been strong support for discussing the harmonisation of national private laws in Europe, including the national tort laws. The chapter discusses the thresholds for harmonising the national laws, for example the fact that they hold different approaches to tort law. In France, the main goal is compensation of the victim and distributive justice (featured by the major general strict liability rule for things), whereas in England tort law is mainly about regulating conduct and corrective justice (embodied in the tort of negligence). In Germany, the approach focuses formally on regulating conduct but this happens in a strict way which means that, in fact, distributive justice is the leading principle. The chapter looks at the rules on fault liability and stricter liability as well as common law and codified law.
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