March 18, 2010
Giesen on Burdens of Proof in European Tort Law
Ivo Giesen (Utrecht University) has posted The Reversal of the Burden of Proof in the Principles of European Tort Law: A Comparison with Dutch Tort Law and Civil Procedure Rules to SSRN.
Although it is not one of its main features, the Principles of European Tort Law (PETL) have devoted some attention to the rules regarding the burden of proof in tort cases, especially to the possibility of a reversal of that burden. Since such a reversal of the burden of proof will be highly relevant for the substantive outcome of a tort case, one needs to be able to justify such a reversal on normative grounds. However, that justification is not always advanced clearly enough in the PETL. At the same time the PETL focus largely on the possible exceptions to the general rule on the burden of proof. As a result, the underlying general rule as such has not been codified. This paper analyses the burden of proof rules in the PETL not only from a more technical point of view, but also from the perspective of the possible influence they might have on the substantive outcome of tort cases. To highlight their content, importance and possible inspirational force for a future ‘European tort law,’ these Principles are contrasted with their counterparts under Dutch tort law. The aim is to answer the question whether the choices made in the PETL are justifiable and whether the Dutch tort system can – or maybe even should – seek inspiration from these Principles.
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