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Two Defining Features of Russian Tort Law: Their Rationale and Legal Effect

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For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

There are two aspects of Russian tort law that set it apart from that of other countries: the recognition of a general reversal of the burden of proof regarding fault in delictual obligations, and the existence of a general clause of strict liability. Such features are not only unique to Russian law but, also, constitute the very core of tort law in Russia today.Despite the significance of these two features, this is a gravely understudied area of research. One of the main reasons for this lies in the lack of interest in (and access to) Soviet legal literature and case law. However, without examining such sources, it is impossible to grasp the rationale behind such atypical legislation, which in turn, makes it difficult to understand Russian tort law in general. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the legislative history of Russia’s past era.Equally important is the legal effect that features may have in modern Russian tort law. This article will focus on the impact that a general reversal of the burden of proof has had on the outcome of tort cases in Russia. The author also will compare the general clause of strict liability in the Russian Civil Code with the regulation of sources of heightened danger in selected countries, a topic that deserves special attention, given Russia’s extensive experience in the field. In addition, all these questions will be examined against the backdrop of other contemporary jurisdictions and European harmonization initiatives in the area of tort law.

Affiliations: 1: Research Professor, Korea University, Office of Research Affairs, Lecturer, Korea University, School of Law, Seoul, Korea


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