Strict Liability

Ernest J. Weinrib

in The Idea of Private Law

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199665815
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748622 | DOI:
Strict Liability

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This chapter deals with the relation of strict liability to corrective justice. The first half criticizes Richard Epstein's sustained effort to vindicate strict liability as a requirement of justice between the parties. Epstein's position is consistent neither with corrective justice's equality nor with its idea of agency nor with its correlativity of right and duty. As a general tort norm, strict liability is as unsound as the subjective standard rejected in Vaughan v Menlove. The second half of the chapter considers particular common law doctrines often associated with strict liability: respondeat superior, liability for abnormally dangerous activities (Rylands v Fletcher), nuisance, and liability for using another's property to preserve one's own (Vincent v Lake Erie). Examined with regard to their specific contours, these doctrines are either extensions of liability or ways in which the common law regulates the use of property in accordance with corrective justice.

Keywords: Richard Epstein; strict liability; subjective standard; Vaughan v Menlove; respondeat superior; abnormally dangerous activities; Rylands v Fletcher; nuisance; Vincent v Lake Erie

Chapter.  15411 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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