In a Civil Law legal system there is a distinction made.

Proper Strict Liability which is plainly Strict Liability as used in the English Language (guiltless liability/ liability regardless of guilt simply because damages occured).

And improper Strict Liability in which guilt is required but the burden of proof is reversed. e.g. The consumer is in a weaker position to prove and bargain so the merchant is usually required to prove that they did nothing wrong (they abode by the law). Which is entirely unproblematic given the relative positions of the parties.

How is Proper Strict Liability in accordance with Necessity, Proportionality and Human Value?

I am not allowed to seek the conformance with law of the general public when trying a specific person (otherwise I would be using them, as a means for the general good) while that person is free of guilt which renders the whole liability unnecessary for them personally (no matter what sanction they expected the damages would occur nonetheless).

  • 1
    Whether laws are a good idea or have a justification that makes sense is generally beyond the scope of the Law stack exchange. Even strict liability is never really strict, because you still have to show the existence of circumstances establishing that the doctrine applies and causation.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 22:50
  • @ohwilleke I am asking about being in accordance with Necessity, Proportionality and Human Value. They are Constitutional Provisions, Constitutional Principles. Commented May 20, 2020 at 5:19
  • 3
    In what constitution? Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 20:19
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because not about law.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 20:07
  • "improper Strict Liability" this is usually called res ipsa loquitor in U.S. law and applied, for example, in commercial airline crashes.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Strict liability in tort (for money damages in a lawsuit) is generally imposed when there are good reasons for someone to be responsible notwithstanding a lack of personal fault (and sometimes there are "back door" fault aspects).

Some of the common categories in the U.S. are:

  1. Strict liability of an employer or principal for acts of an employee or agent, or by one general partner for another one, or of an insurer or surety for someone insured or guaranteed.

  2. Strict liability for a defective product. Defectiveness is also a "back door" form of fault, even though it is not evaluated by the usual negligence standard in which there is no liability for mistakes that a reasonable person could make.

  3. Strict liability for harm caused by an ultra-hazardous activity. The inference is that a reasonable person wouldn't engage in ultra-hazardous activities at all.

  4. Strict liability is imposed for breaches of contract.

Generally the common theme is that someone subject to liability consciously assumed a risk of liability in advance of an incident, and often has some control or influence over the events that could conceivably cause harm.

Strict liability is not constitutionally required or prohibited. Whether it is imposed is a matter for non-constitutional legislation and for judicial interpretation of the law.

  • 1
    On your pointy 2, I would disagree that "a reasonable person wouldn't engage in ultra-hazardous activities at all." I would instead say "A reasonable person knows the high risk, and takes appropriate precautions". The classic example is use of explosives in excavation. Reasonable people sometimes must do this, but taker extreme precautions knowing the risk and that they will be strictly liable. Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 2:56
  • 1
    @DavidSiegel Of course, my comment was a glib oversimplification.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 19:14

As I understand it you are asking about the theoretical justification for strict liability in tort - for example the liability of a manufacturer to a consumer for damage and/or personal injury caused by defects in their product.

Generally the justification for this is that:

a.) The defendant is in business - i.e. it is not an imposition on citizens in general: you have to decide to start a business and you know that strict liability will be a consequence.

b.) Either indemnity insurance is compulsory or it is at least usual and readily available - so that it is not actually the defendant who pays but their insurance company

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .