Chapter 12: The Questionable Questionnaire: Reflections on Comparative Law Method in Light of Principles of European Tort Law
Mårten Schultz I. INTRODUCTION This chapter will provide some critical arguments on the use of questionnaires in comparative law research. The point of departure for my critique will be the recently published Principles of European Tort Law (hereinafter PETL), an effort by a group of academics named The European Group on Tort Law (hereinafter EGTL).1 My purpose in this context is not so much to criticise the PETL as such.2 Rather, the aim is to point to some problems with the method employed not only by the EGTL but also by many other research groups in the so-called Europeanisation of private law movement, the questionnaire method. After a short presentation of the PETL the chapter consists of two parts. In the first part, I comment on some practical problems regarding the use of questionnaires in European private law research, while the second part addresses some more theoretical and, I like to think, profound issues. II. A SHORT PRESENTATION OF THE PETL The PETL is the first published final result of the research groups that have made it their purpose to investigate the future of European tort law. It will then be followed by the proposal by the Study Group on a European Civil Code. The purpose behind both the PETL and the Study Group’s suggestions is that if and when European tort law will take further steps towards unification, there will be a need for comparative investigations of the similarities and differences between the European jurisdictions. But the...
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