Pure Economic Loss in Europe

By Mauro Bussani; Vernon Valentine Palmer | Go to book overview
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5 The liability regimes of Europe - their
facades and interiors


Where would it all lead if everyone could be sued… An ill-advised statement, a
rumor passed on, a false report, bad advice, a poor decision, a recommendation
for an unfit serving maid by her former employer, information given at the
request of a traveler about the way, the time, and so forth in short, anything
and everything would make one liable to compensate for the damage that ensued
if there were gross negligence despite one’s good faith…

Rudolf von Ihering1

Our system of civil responsibility founded on the clausula generalisit could
hardly be more generalisof article 1382, has a knack of being everywhere at
once [le don de ubiquité], which, to our somewhat prejudiced eyes, creates an
incomparable advantage.

Jean Carbonnier2

In the area of tort liability, the strongest oppositions appear to be at the level of
general definitions. The extreme positions are represented by general scholarly
formulas and, a short distance behind, by overall legislative rules in France and
Germany, whereas, moving toward ‘midfield’, we find more specific statutory for-
mulations, the detailed scholarly solutions, and, finally, the operational rules ap-
plied by courts The overall definitions generalize a rule instead of limiting its
application… damage would seem to be always compensable, or liability to be al-
ways dependent on a right. The operative rules, in contrast, are more articulated.

Rodolfo Sacco3


The goals of this chapter are twofold. First, we wish to provide a theoretical matrix that situates the issue of pure economic loss within each

1Jherings Jahrbücher für die Dogmatik des bürgerlichen Rechts, vol. 4 (Jena, 1861), 12–13.

2 J. Carbonnier, ‘Le Silence et La Gloire’, Dalloz 1951 Chron. 119.

3 R. Sacco, ‘Legal Formants: A Dynamic Approach to Comparative Law’, (1991) 39 American Journal of Comparative Law 343, 369.


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