Paris International Litigation Bulletin no. 3

French civil law has been undergoing changes for years. After the reform of the regime of statutes of limitations, reorganised by Law no. 2008-561 of 17 June 2008, and the suggested reform of contracts law presented by the Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2011, the third chapter of this makeover concerns civil liability. This suggested reform is based on the works of a working group led by Professor François Terré, under the aegis of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences. In addition to legal authors, practitioners participated, in this scope, in the establishment of a draft text. The Ministry of Justice organised a public consultation on this draft, which ended on 16 January 2012, and which results are not yet known.

The aim of this suggested reform is to clarify civil liability law to improve access to it as well as its efficiency. For this purpose, it is suggested to substantially amend the wording of Articles 1382 and following of the French Civil Code by carrying out a double codification covering case law developments (for instance, in matters relating to liability for damage caused by things and unusual  neighbourhood disturbances) and the various texts having established special liability regimes (for instance, Law no. 85-677 of 5 July 1985, which created the special regime relating to compensation of traffic accidents). The working group notably adopted a comparative law approach, by following certain solutions of foreign law.

Among the numerous propositions giving rise to 69 Articles, the major themes of the reform shall hereafter be examined, starting with the trilogy that traditionally makes a civil tort: the fault, the loss and the causal link…

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