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Principles of European Tort Law

The founders of the European Centre of Tort and Insurance Law (ECTIL), the European Group on Tort Law, are pursuing a most ambitious project with the support of ECTIL and the Institute for European Tort Law (ETL): the drafting of 'Principles of European Tort Law'. [Click here] for the European Group on Tort Law’s (EGTL) Mission Statement.

Prof. Helmut Koziol, managing director of ECTIL and founding director of ETL, the current director of ETL, Prof. Ernst Karner as well as long term associate of ETL and ECTIL, Prof. Bernhard A. Koch, are all members of this Group.

The aim of this broadly-based comparative research is to create the foundation for discussing a future harmonisation of the law of tort in the European Union, above all with respect to a possible codification of European Private Law. Further, the 'Principles' shall form a stimulus for both academics and practitioners and could serve as a guideline for national legal systems, thereby leading to gradual legal harmonisation. Finally, the present isolated tort law regulations, which are at times themselves contradictory, requires a uniform concept from the European Union.

In order to attain the necessary overview of the various legal systems, written country reports on the tort law questions to be examined have been prepared. These individual country reports address abstract issues as well as case hypotheticals. This methodology takes into account the legal systems of most of the countries of the European Union as well as Switzerland. This work is positively supplemented by contributions from the legal systems of the USA, Israel and South Africa. South Africa in particular, with its mixed system based on continental and English law, can provide valuable experience concerning legal harmonisation. With regard to the eastern expansion of the European Union in the future, a co-operation with these countries in the fields of legal integration is of particular significance. These country reports are supplemented by a comparative report in which the similarities and differences between the tort law regulations in the individual countries are presented. This basis forms the starting point for the drafting of the Principles which could be acceptable for all of the legal systems examined. Due to the diversity of the legal systems under question, it is rarely the case that, in this work, uniform regulations already exist. Rather, existing solutions require further development, or even new solutions have to be sought.

This preparatory work of the European Centre of Tort and Insurance Law has been published by Kluwer Law International. A current list of these publications is available on this website.

The Principles of European Tort Law themselves have also been published already, accompanied by a commentary and several translations. The online version of the Principles in several languages can be found on the Group's website.

The EGTL has embarked on the next round of work on its 'Principles', ultimately aiming at a second edition of the publication which shall take into account the extensive feedback gathered in the meantime at various conferences and through academic writing. [Click here] for the Group’s Current Work Programme.

The results of the studies will be published by the Group's new series publisher, Intersentia. For more details see [here].

Principles of European Tort Law

The online version of the Principles in several languages can be found on the Group's website.