German Transplants in Estonian Tort Law: General Duties to Maintain Safety


  • Janno Lahe



tort law, fault, unlawfulness, general duty to maintain safety


The jurisprudence and case-law approach of German tort law – and, more broadly, German-school legal thinking in general – has found its way into Estonian case law on torts and into Estonia’s scholarly texts on jurisprudence. From among the catalogue of transplants from German tort law that have reached Estonian law or legal practice, the paper focuses on one whose importance cannot be overestimated: the concept of tort liability based on breach of the general duty to maintain safety. This domain has witnessed remarkable change since the beginning of the 2000s, when an analogous concept of liability was still unfamiliar to many Estonian lawyers. The article examines whether and to what extent the concept of liability based on the general duty to maintain safety has become recognised in Estonian legal practice in the years since. Also assessed is the relevant case law to date, for ascertainment of whether any adoption of an equivalent concept of liability has been successful and, in either event, what problems remain to be resolved.

The importance of this issue extends far beyond that of individual questions: the recognition of general duties to maintain safety affects our understanding of the very structure of tort law, of that of the general composition of tort, and of the connections that link the individual prerequisites for tort liability. Furthermore, this constellation influences our thought in the field of tort law more generally and our approach to the cases emerging in real-world legal practice.


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How to Cite

Lahe, J. (2021). German Transplants in Estonian Tort Law: General Duties to Maintain Safety. Juridica International, 30, 132–139.