Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Mauro Bussani and Anthony J. Sebok
Chapter 20: Tort law in Latin America
The purpose of this chapter is to offer a broad comparative picture on the law of torts in the legal systems of Latin America. Latin America represents a vast and very diverse geographical region, comprising more than twenty separate jurisdictions, each of which has its own tort regime, with its provisions, case law and scholarly traditions. This makes it perhaps impossible to give a full account of all tort law regimes that are in place in Latin America, unless it be made in such a superficial way as to be of no or little scholarly interest in this context. By contrast, this chapter intends to contribute to the understanding of Latin American tort law by showing how this area of the law untangles in the region. Taking a historical and comparative perspective, and deliberately overlooking the details of the individual tort systems, the chapter tries to portray Latin American tort law in its macro-dimensions, identifying common features and particularities that have led to relatively homogeneous systems of tort law across the Latin American region, which nevertheless remain separate and marked by important differences. Therefore, with the necessary degree of generalization, the chapter will first shed light (in Section 3) on the foundations of tort liability in Latin America. The central part of the analysis is located in Sections 4 and 5, which aim to explain what mechanisms and (macro)forces steer the evolution of tort law in Latin America.
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