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Report No. 51

29. Tort liability in Soviet Russia.-

In the Civil Code of the R.S.F.S.R., 1964, Article 444, reads-1

"444. General ground of liability for causing of harm.-Harm caused to the person or property of a citizen, as well as harm caused to an organisation, is subject to compensation in fully by the person who has caused such harm. A person who has caused harm is relieved of the duty to make compensation if he proves that the harm was not caused through his fault. Harm caused by lawful acts is subject to compensation only in cases provided for by law."

1. Article 444, R.S.F.S.R., Civil Code, quoted by Alice Jay, Principles of Liability in Soviet Law of Torts, (1969) 18, International and Comparative Law Quarterly 424, 427.

30. Article 454 of the R.S.F.S.R., Civil Code, 1964, (replacing Article 404 of the old Code and basing itself on Article 90 of the Fundamental Principles of 1961), reads:

"454. Liability for harm caused by a source of increased danger.-Organisations and citizens whose activity involves increased danger for those in the vicinity (transport organisations, industrial enterprises, building projects, possessors of motor cars, etc.) must make good the harm caused by the source of increased danger unless they prove that the harm arose in consequence of irresistible force or as a result of the intention of the victim."1

1. Article 454 cited in Alice Jay Principles of Liability in Soviet Laws of Torts, (1969) 18 I.C.L.Q. 424, 427.

31. An important ruling of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R., in 19631 spelled out clearly what had been the dominant line:

"Possessors of a source of increased danger are to be understood as organisations or citizens carrying out the exploitation of the source of increased danger by virtue of their having the right of ownership or by virtue of operational management, as well as on other bases (e.g., in virtue of a contract of lease, hire or trust, and also, on the basis of administrative decision of the competent organs, handing over the source of increased danger to the temporary use of the organisation)."

1. Ruling of October 23, 1963, No. 16 cited in Alice Jay Principles of Liability in Soviet Laws of Torts, (1969) 18 I.C.L.Q. 424, 444.

32. Specific rules have been worked out in the U.S.S.R. as to liability for accidents caused by motor cars, and it appears1 that they fall under the general treatment of motor-cars as "sources of increased danger".2

1. Alice Jay Principles of Liability in Soviet Law of Tort, (1969) 18 I.C.L.Q. 424, 446.

2. Para. 30, supra.

Compensation for Injuries caused by Automobiles in hit-and-run Cases Back

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