The impact of the precautionary principle on civil and criminal liability: A French perspective on South African law

Authors Jonas Knetsch, Romain Ollard

ISSN: 2616-8499
Affiliations: Professor of Civil and Comparative Law, University of Reunion Island (France); Professor of Criminal and Civil Law, University of Reunion Island (France)
Source: South African Journal of Environmental Law and Policy 2016, p. 103 – 128


French law and South-African law are among the few legal systems in the world which have constitutionally enshrined the precautionary principle (principe de précaution). Under this principle, public authorities are required to take into account the limits of current knowledge in order to secure an ecologically sustainable development. This paper discusses whether the precautionary principle is likely to have an impact on civil and criminal liability rules. The outcomes of this research are intended to provide further input for a broader debate on the influence of the Constitution on the concept of liability.