Liability is, at the same time, a way of punishing reproachable behavior and a method to ensure the reparation of damages for the benefit of the victims concerned. But sometimes the two functions no longer coincide, as in fault with no resulting damage, or prejudice which cannot be attached to a particular individual. Legal orders thus translate into political choices consistent with favoring one or the other, not only by preference but in consideration of interfering circumstances, like insurance.
Liability therefore adds a systemic dimension, tied to the sector of the characters involved and to the standards created by them. Liability has a few deciding standards which are its own: openness to competition, third party access, market stability, and risk prevention. Liability cannot be locked up alone; it must be an instrument of regulation. Economic analysis becomes the best tool for designing adequate terms for liability, meaning the most efficient means for surveying and building industry. The regulator state is a severe one; the industry operators negotiate their liabilities while those of the regulator are in the process of being built.
Contributors: Francisco Abriani, Laurent Benzoni, Nicolas Cellupica, Reinhard Dammann, Bruno Deffains, Marie-Anne Frison-Roche, Charles Joseph Oudin, Aude Rouyère, Alain Seban, Jean-Pierre Teyssier