This introductory chapter examines the meaning of the term ‘European Union tort law’ and distinguishes it from studies examining the more loosely defined ‘European tort law’. European Union tort law is found in a number of different areas of law ranging from product liability to competition law. It plays an important role in ensuring the effectiveness of EU law and that EU citizens are able to obtain compensation for their losses resulting from breach of EU law. Owing to its diverse and piecemeal nature, its true breadth is often overlooked. Chapter 1 also highlights the cultural tensions underlying the development of EU tort law and the role harmonisation proposals play in this context.
This final chapter reflects on earlier chapters in this volume and examines the nature of EU tort law, to what extent common problems may be found across different areas of law and the extent to which tensions remain between national and EU tort law. It addresses the nature of any emerging culture of EU tort law and how attempts at harmonisation have provided soft law models for future courts and legislators. It also considers the future of EU tort law as a basis for providing EU citizens with compensation for wrongs committed against them and as a distinct discipline for academic study.