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The imposition of strict liability in tort law is controversial, and its theoretical foundations are the object of vigorous debate. Why do or should we impose strict liability on employers for the torts committed by their employees, or on a person for the harm caused by their children, animals, activities, or things? In responding to this type of questions, legal actors rely on a wide variety of justifications. Justifying Strict Liability explores, in a comparative perspective, the most significant arguments that are put forward to justify the imposition of strict liability in four legal systems, two common law, England and the United States, and two civil law, France and Italy. These justifications include: risk, accident avoidance, the 'deep pockets' argument, loss-spreading, victim protection, reduction in administrative costs, and individual responsibility.
By looking at how these arguments are used across the four legal systems, this book considers a variety of patterns which characterise the reasoning on strict liability. The book also assesses the justificatory weight of the arguments, showing that these can assume varying significance in the four jurisdictions and that such variations reflect different views as to the values and goals which inspire strict liability and tort law more generally. Overall, the book seeks to improve our understanding of strict liability, to shed light on the justifications for its imposition, and to enhance our understanding of the different tort cultures featuring in the four legal systems studied.