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ANR funded project

Rapport au risque et innovation sociale (DS0801) 2015
Projet RCSR

From civil liability to socialisation of the risks

Tort law is commonly presented as the preferred method for compensation of damages consecutive of an accident. Civil liability consists, apparently, in taking in the pocket of the tortfeasor enough money to restore the victim to the state it was in before the accident.
This model is obsolete. First, we can note an overabundance of compensation debtors, after an accident: the insurer of the victim, social security, sometimes social benefits grants (Conseil Général for the Prestation de Compensation du Handicap; sometimes the Caisse des allocations familiales...), in some contexts, the employer, sometimes a compensation fund (Fonds de garantie des victimes d’actes de terrorisme et d’autres infractions, Fonds d’indemnisation des victimes de l’amiante ...). On the other hand, it is extremely rare that the person directly responsible for the damage is actually required to compensate the victim. He is very unlikely to bear the cost of the damages, and there are cases in which the rules of civil liability allow it to escape any conviction.
Indeed, all recent developments in liability tend to put the burden of compensation on who has the best ability to spread the cost of damages other society. In addition, civil liability is facing competition from other compensation mechanisms: as an example, medical accidents are repaired, often through a specific procedure, whether they arise from a fault (liability) or from therapeutic hazard (socialization of risks).
Therefore, liability appears more as a risk socialization mechanism among others, than as a transfer of costs mechanism. Now, if we assume that most of the time, the burden of repairing the damage bears on the community, a fundamental conceptual breakthrough is achieved, rich in implications.
Thus, the cost that represents the diversity of compensation procedures and multiplicity of proceedings arising from this diversity appears to be abnormally high, if in any case, the whole of society pays the damages. Moreover, sometimes the reasons depriving a victim from the right to obtain compensation appear baseless, under a risk socialization mechanism. Some legal systems, including New Zealand, have already drawn conclusions from this change likely to abolish the liability in favour of a socialization mechanism.
This project will study these upheavals and crises of civil liability as a risk socialization phenomenon. This interpretation is relatively new in French law, breaking the traditional concepts, and opens wide research fields.
This project consists of three main tasks:
• Theoretical analysis of the phenomenon: development of a critical bibliography review of conceptual locks to changing representations evaluation of the legal tools available to a paradigm reversal consideration of other inputs social sciences about the nature and functions of civil liability.
• Practical analysis of the phenomenon: dissemination and analysis of a questionnaire to those involved in compensation; Counting court decisions; creation of a database or a repository on the practices of compensation by different actors.
• Writing in the light of the contributions of previous actions, documents to the scientific community, policy makers, civil society.


CDPPOC Centre de droit public et privé des obligations et de la consommation

ANR grant: 262 080 euros
Beginning and duration: octobre 2015 - 42 mois


ANR Programme: Rapport au risque et innovation sociale (DS0801) 2015

Project ID: ANR-15-CE26-0009

Project coordinator:
Monsieur Christophe QUEZEL-AMBRUNAZ (Centre de droit public et privé des obligations et de la consommation)


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The project coordinator is the author of this abstract and is therefore responsible for the content of the summary. The ANR disclaims all responsibility in connection with its content.