Mass tort is one of the major themes in society, as well as within the legal debate on legal conflict resolution. In November 2023, a project about mass harm of the Common Core of European Private Law was published. This research provides for an in-depth and broad comparative law study on the meaning of tort law in mass harm cases in Europe. It examines this phenomenon based on twelve case studies in these twelve European jurisdictions: Austria, Belgium, England and Wales, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. We study not only substantive tort law, but also procedural law aspects and the shift of compensation beyond tort law. The research project marks a novelty in the common core tradition by mapping out procedural (im)possibilities of damages recovery in mass harm cases, thereby giving a clearer picture of what tort law can de facto mean in mass harm cases.
Many follow-up questions arise from this comparative research. We will address two such questions topics during a hybrid seminar on 13 December 2023. First, a major obstacle seems to be the standardization of damages, especially in those cases where the nature of the damage is difficult to standardize. Second, it again appears that tort law protects only a small number of interests; ecology is not one of them.
During a hybrid seminar of the research network Institutions for Conflict Resolution (in cooperation with the research group UCALL) we reflect on the results of the research and explore questions about standardization of damages and ecology damages with three leading experts.
Prof. Tomas Arons (Utrecht University)
Prof. Edward Brans (Utrecht University)
Prof. Rianka Rijnhout (Utrecht University)
Marco Speelmans (business manager personal injury, Aegon Insurance NL)
Maykel de Vries LLM (Expert Staff Achmea Insurance NL)
About the seminar series
Institutions for Conflict Resolution / Conflictoplossende Instituties (COI) is a research collaboration between Utrecht University, Leiden University, and Radboud University. As part of its activities, the COI research group organises seminars throughout the year for researchers interested in current and innovative topics relating to institutions for conflict resolution. The seminars feature international speakers who present their work, followed by Q&A and discussion. Themes include the evolving role of judges in preventing and resolving conflicts, the role of alternative avenues and non-public actors, and how societal challenges such as climate change or digitalisation affect institutions for conflict resolution. Seminars are hosted on a rotating basis at each of the three universities, and are delivered in a hybrid format: online via Microsoft Teams and in-person, on campus at the host institution.
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