A Gordian Knot or not? On the relation between apologies, liability and compensation

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


This presentation at the meeting of the International Network on Law and Apology Research (INLAR) in Padua in september 2019 considers two paradigms of (tort) law: (1) Justice is done on the basis of the truth, encompassing i.a. that courts should decide on the basis of the truth and that damages should be assessed objectively; (2) Restitutio in integrum: the goal of tort law is recovery, encompassing i.a. that monetary compensation is not enough, and that emotional recovery is an independent substantive goal of tort law.

It is submitted that from this perspective it follows that apology legislation can have the goals of constituting an authoritative statement that an apology is not an admission of liability and of voiding provisions in insurance contracts that sanction truthfulness, but should not aim to exclude apologies from evidence. It is also submitted that valid parameters for the effectivity of apology legislation are more apologies, and the promotion of emotional recovery, and in the field of procedure, less adversarial interactions, less litigation, more settlements and more ADR. Lower amounts of damages payed however, might be considered some sort of a by-catch, but can never be valid parameters of success of apology legislation.
Period27 Sept 2019
Event titleApologies in the Legal Arena: A Comparative Law Perspective: Meeting of the International Network on Law and Apologies Research (INLAR)
Event typeConference
LocationPadova, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational