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Choice Group Seminar by Todd Karhu (King’s College): Compensatory Liability Without Fault

18 October 2023, 4:30 pm6:00 pm

Abstract: Some activities, like setting off dynamite or owning wild animals, are typically subject to no-fault or stricttort liability—a person who participates in them can be liable to pay compensation if they wind up harming someone, even if they took every reasonable precaution to protect other people from harm. But for most ordinary activities, fault is a necessary condition for legal liability: a person won’t be liable to compensate unless they bear some fault for causing the harm, for example by acting recklessly or negligently. In this talk, I will defend strict liability as a moral position: at least as far as morality is concerned, fault is seldom necessary for individual liability to compensate. I will then consider the implications of my argument for how society should distribute the costs of personal injuries. We should, I claim, favour an expansion of the strict liability standard in law; individuals should more frequently be held legally liable to compensate others for harms they cause, even when they do so faultlessly. I defend this system as the more just distributive scheme both compared to predominantly fault-based tort systems, like those found in US and English law, as well as compared to loss-sharing schemes, which do away with individual liability in favor of spreading the costs of accidents more widely across a population.

Todd Karhu is a Lecturer in Philosophy at The Dickson Poon School of Law.

This event will take place in person on LSE’s campus. However, those unable to attend in person will have the option of taking part online.

To join online just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.


18 October 2023
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Event Category:




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