Academic journal article McGill Law Journal

Victim Pays Damages to Tortfeasor: The When and Wherefore

Academic journal article McGill Law Journal

Victim Pays Damages to Tortfeasor: The When and Wherefore

Article excerpt

Is there a reality in which the victim pays damages to the tortfeasor? This article analyzes Calabresi and Melamed's liability rule for the damaging party (Rule 4), where the damaged party has the right to prevent pollution if the polluter is compensated first. Under the conventional application of this rule, the victim first collects the money and compensates the injurer, and only then is the injurer required to eliminate the nuisance (ex ante). There is no reference to a possibility of the injurer first eliminating the nuisance and only then receiving compensation (ex post). We argue that the timing of the payment should be changed when the activity causing the nuisance has social and economic value. Each version of the rule advances the aggregate welfare in some sense, but also harms it in another.

The primary aim of the present article is to introduce a new model for Rule 4 that would guide legislators, regulators, and judges in deciding when to order compensation as a condition for eliminating the nuisance and when to order the injurer to remove the nuisance first and only then collect the funds.

This article also introduces a comparative perspective that reveals the potential use of the ex post version of Rule 4, as manifest in sources of the Jewish legal tradition. This comparison further bolsters our proposal in favour of a division between ex ante and ex post versions of the rule.

Ultimately, offering two versions for the implementation of Rule 4 would better enable the adaptation of a suitable solution according to the circumstances and thus would widen the possibilities for the rule's use.

Existe-t-il un monde oU la victime d'un prejudice indemnise le responsable? Cet article analyse la regle de responsabilite de l'auteur du dommage de Calabresi et Melamed (Regle 4), oU la victime a le droit d'empecher une activite polluante si elle compense d'abord le pollueur. Selon l'application conventionnelle de cette regle, la victime collecte l'argent et compense le responsable, qui doit alors eliminer la nuisance (ex ante). Il n'y a aucune reference a la possibilite pour le responsable d'eliminer d'abord la nuisance et de recevoir ensuite une compensation (expost). Nous soutenons que le moment du paiement doit etre change quand l'activite causant la nuisance a une valeur sociale et economique. Du point de vue du bien commun, les deux versions de la regle presentent a la fois des avantages et des inconvenients.

L'objectif principal de cet article est d'introduire un nouveau modele de la Regle 4 afin d'aider legislateurs, agences reglementaires et juges a determiner quand la compensation devrait etre exigible comme condition d'elimination d'une nuisance et quand le responsable devrait eliminer la nuisance avant d'etre compense.

Cet article introduit une perspective comparative qui revele l'utilisation potentielle de la version ex post de la Regle 4, rendue manifeste par la tradition juridique juive. En fait, notre proposition en faveur d'une division entre les versions ex ante et ex post de la regle est renforcee par cette comparaison.

Offrir deux modes d'implementation de la Regle 4 faciliterait l'adaptation d'une solution appropriee aux circonstances et elargiraient donc les possibilites d'utilisation de cette regle.


I.   Liability Rule for the Damaging Party (Rule 4)
     A. Foundations and Justifications
     B. Problems
        1. The Problem of Determining Which Party Values
           the Entitlement More and the Information Problem
        2. Moral Hazard
        3. The Collective Action and Free-Rider Problems
II.  Ex Ante Version of Rule 4: Advantages and Drawbacks
III. Ex Post Version of Rule 4
     A. Advantages and Drawbacks
     B. The Ex Post Option Alongside the Ex Ante Option:
        A Comparative Perspective
        1. The Talmudic Ex Post Model
        2. Post-Talmudic Applications
IV.  Intermediate Versions
     A. … 
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