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Tort Liability of Public Authorities in European Laws$
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Giacinto della Cananea and Roberto Caranta

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198867555

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198867555.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

France and the United Kingdom

France and the United Kingdom

(p.302) 16 France and the United Kingdom
Tort Liability of Public Authorities in European Laws

Carol Harlow

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares the respective answers of the English and French systems of administrative liability within a wider comparative study that focuses on outcomes. The chapter is in three parts. It first looks briefly at the constitutional and cultural framework in which the rules operate. In France, we find a separate system of administrative courts which handle all questions relating to the administration, including liability, and which have built a sophisticated public law system of non-contractual liability. In the UK, where all questions of liability go to the ‘ordinary’ civil courts, the law is uncodified, and there are gaps in the liability principles. The chapter then looks at basic principles. In France, where the dominant principle is faute de service public, the courts also acknowledge a no-fault principle. In the UK, the strongest form of redress is strict liability for assault, battery, and false imprisonment, but the dominant principle is negligence, and a public authority must owe a duty of care to the claimant to be held liable. In the final part, the chapter answers specific liability questions, making the point that it is often hard to get redress for economic loss. Claimants often fail to get redress for wrongful failures to grant licences or exercise a discretion or statutory power.

Keywords:   common law actions, constitutional provisions concerning government liability, economic loss, fault, jurisdiction, administrative and ordinary courts, general principles, legality and liability

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