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Durham e-Theses
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Reforming the English law on parental liability: a comparison with the French experience.

McIvor, Claire Marie (1999) Reforming the English law on parental liability: a comparison with the French experience. Masters thesis, Durham University.



English law has demonstrated itself to be particularly hostile to the idea of holding parents tortiously liable for the acts of their children. It deals with allegations of parental negligence with a degree of leniency that, arguably, defies all rational justification. In advocating reform, the primary objective of this thesis is to put forward a proposal for a new regime of liability that obliges parents to take much greater legal responsibility for their children's conduct. The proposition set out is that English law has a lot to learn from the continental approach to parental liability. In seeking guidelines for change, the French system is singled out as a particularly good model for comparison. Over the years it has experimented with different forms of parental liability, and so its law in this respect is well developed, not to mention excellently documented. The French system offers two main options for reform: a regime of strict liability based on a rebuttable presumption of fault or a regime of vicarious liability. It is contended that, for present purposes, the former offers the more viable solution for a legal system that is notoriously resistant to the concept of no-fault liability. In adapting this French regime to suit English needs, the focus of this thesis is on the substantive legal issues involved. The normative feasibility of the proposed regime is established by demonstrating its consistency with the principles of English negligence law. This, in turn, is done by demonstrating the existence, in a typical parental liability action, of the elements of duty of care, breach of duty and both factual and legal causation.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Jurisprudence
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:48

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