Pure Economic Loss in Europe

By Mauro Bussani; Vernon Valentine Palmer | Go to book overview
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1 The notion of pure economic loss
and its setting



Pure economic loss is one of the most discussed topics of European tort law scholarship. Fascination with the subject (which may at first glance appear dry and technical) has developed into a wealth of literature about this frontier notion.1 It stands at the cutting edge of many questions: how far can tort liability expand without imposing excessive burdens upon individual activity (or, as some may wish, to what extent should tort rules be compatible with the market orientation of the legal system)?2 How should the tort law of the twenty-first century or the provisions of a projected European code approach this issue? As a

1 The literature is overwhelmingly weighted to those countries where the concept is well recognized by practitioners, judge and scholars. See E. K. Banakas, Civil Liability for Pure Economic Loss (Kluwer, 1996); J. M. Barendrecht, ‘Pure Economic Loss in the Netherlands’, in E. H. Hondius (ed.) Netherlands Reports to the Fifteenth International Congress of Comparative Law (1998), at pp. 115–35; R. Bernstein, Economic Loss (2nd edn, Sweet & Maxwell, London, 1998); B. Feldthusen, Economic Negligence: The Recovery of Pure Economic Loss (Carswell, 1989); J. Kleineman, Ren förmögenhetsskada (1987); C. Lapoyade Deschamps, ‘La reparation du prejudice pur en droit français’ in Banakas, Civil Liability, pp. 89–101; W. Posch and B. Schilcher, ‘Civil Liability for Pure Economic Loss: An Austrian Perspective’, in Banakas, Civil Liability, at pp. 149–76; J. Spier (ed.) The Limits of Liability: Keeping the Floodgates Shut (Kluwer, 1996) (discussion of eight ‘Tilburg Hypo the ticals’ four of which concern pure economic loss); C. von Bar, ‘Liability for Information and Opinions Causing Pure Economic Loss to Third Parties: A Comparison of English and German Case Law’, in B. Markesinis (ed.) The Gradual Convergence (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994), pp. 99 ff.; B. Markesinis, The German Law of Obligations, vol. II The Law of Torts (3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997); J. M. Thomson, ‘Delictual Liability for Pure Economic Loss: Recent Developments’, 1995 SLT 139; J. Herbots, ‘Le “duty of care” et le dommage purement financier en droit compare’, (1985) 62 Revue de Droit International et de Droit Compare 7–33; L. Khoury, “The Liability of Auditors Beyond Their Clients: A Comparative Study’, (2001) 46 McGill Law Journal 413.

2 P. Benson, ‘The Basis for Excluding Liability for Economic Loss in Tort Law’, in D. G. Owen, The Philosophical Foundations of Tort Law (Clarendon, Oxford, 1995), pp. 427, 431.


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