Call for student contributions - Seminar on "Reconciling Product Safety and Civil Liability: Governance in the Age of Risk and Uncertainty"

Published: 13 March 2018

Professors Marie-Eve Arbour (Laval) and Lara Khoury (McGill) invite Law students in the BCL/LLB, LLM or DCL programs to submit a proposal for a scientific contribution to the above seminar, which will take place June 6-8, 2018, in Sacacomie, Quebec.

The selected students will have the opportunity to present their work as part of this seminar and to benefit from the mentorship of participating researchers from six countries.

Deadline: 15 April 2018.

Theme: Following national and worldwide consumer product accidents (toys, medicine, cars, etc.), product safety has recently been at the heart of a few important reforms seeking to strike a balance between consumer health and safety protection and increasing global trade liberalization; innovation and precaution; self-regulation by industry and States’ command and control legislation.

Legislators rely heavily upon private governance, standardization and public regulators’ discretionary powers to authorize, recall, withdraw or restrict product distribution. However, in parallel, they strengthen information transparency, traceability, labelling, post-market duties, incident reporting and test conducting as concrete means to eradicate dangerous products and prevent harm. Whenever prevention fails, product liability may offer victims compensation for sustained damages. This is well known and documented.

By contrast, the contact zone between those two faces of law remains somewhat analyzed in fragments. Is the ex-ante/ex-post dialectic outdated or ever contemporary? How do safety regulation techniques impact on liability law?

This seminar will call on its participants to bridge this private law/public law divide and to think about product safety and liability in terms of their risk management potential in an era of fast-pace technological development and accompanying uncertainty.

Papers dealing directly with this topic, or with broader issues of relevance (for e.g. respective capacities of regulators and judiciary in handling risks and uncertainty; parallel role of knowledge and scientific data in regulating safety and managing liability; etc.) are all welcome.

Language: Proposals and presentations are in English or French.

Publication: The selected students undertake to produce a written text that will be included in an edited collection published by Yvon Blais/Thomson Reuter. The texts will be expected on or before December 31, 2018.

Funding: A fixed sum will be given to cover the costs of travel to Sacacomie (located in Lanaudière) and accommodation and meals (according to the price we have negotiated with the hotel).

How to apply: Please send to lara.khoury [at] before April 15, 2018 a presentation proposal lasting 15–20 minutes. The proposal must be a maximum of one (1) page (Font: Times New Roman or equivalent, 12 points, regular margins). The proposal should describe the theme of your presentation and outline the reasons why it fits into the theme of the seminar generally (there is no need for your presentation to follow the theme very closely) or specifically.

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