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European Tort Law$
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Cees van Dam

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672264.001.0001

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(p.51) 3 France
European Tort Law

Cees Van Dam

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes French tort law, which is characterized by its broad general principles. Only a few rules govern most of the law of extra-contractual liability and these are laid down in the Napoleonic Code civil (CC) of 1804, which is still in force. The main fault liability rule can be found in article 1382 CC (liability for one's own faute), but in cases of personal injury and property damage the strict liability rule of article 1384 al. 1 CC is much more important. This rule is developed by the Cour de cassation and establishes a strict liability for damage, caused by a thing (chose). The Cour de cassation also developed a general strict liability rule for damage caused by other persons, which supplements the more specific strict liability rules for parents (for damage caused by their children) and for employers (for damage caused by their employees). Hence, in France, in cases of personal injury and property loss, strict liability is the rule and fault liability the exception.

Keywords:   French tort law, fault liability, Code civil, personal injury, property damage, strict liability

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