13 Colum. J. Eur. L. 231 (2007)

David Corbé-Chalon.
Attaché temporaire d’enseignement et de recherche (Instructor), Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Économiques, Université du Maine, Le Mans, France; Member of the Groupe de recherches en droit des affaires (Research Group in Business Law). Professor of Law, University of Maine School of Law.

Martin A. Rogoff. Professor of Law, University of Maine School of Law.

There is a perception among many in the United States that the system for awarding tort damages for bodily injuries needs to be reformed. Some legal scholars have proposed the adoption of a system similar to that which presently exists in France. In France, too, however, there are concerns about the operation of the system for the award of tort damages jbr bodily injuries, particularly as to its rationality, transparency, and fairness. During the past few years several important government-sponsored reports have proposed changes to various aspects of the system. Also, the European Union, of which France is a member, has concerns regarding tort damage awards and has enacted legislation and entertained proposals to change the current regimes existing in EU member states. European human rights law and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights bear importantly on French law as well. French rethinking of the law in this domain is in addition occurring within the context of changing ideas about civil liability and the nature of bodily injuries, which have found expression in decisions of the Constitutional Council and in amendments to the Civil Code. After exploring these matters in Parts I and !!, our focus then narrows in Parts I/I, IV, and V to consider in detail the substantive standards for the award of tort damages, the procedural methodology for the application of those standards, and the operation of the system in practice. Such detailed analysis is necessary to understand how changing conceptions and values, in France and at the European level, affect the system in practice and lead to calls for change. In addition, any real understanding of the French system requires an appreciation of the complicated interplay of courts, lawyers, medical experts, private insurers, state insurance and indemnity funds, and other actors in the award of tort damages for bodily injuries. In Part VI and the Conclusion we return to broader considerations of   policy and perspective to analyze the fundamental principle of “total reparation” and to consider its relationship to ideas of distributive and corrective justice.