Enterprise liability as research area – University of Copenhagen

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Enterprise liability as research area

Private enterprises are powerful and dynamic elements in modern society. Globalization has led to an expansion of the markets and an equal expansion of the enterprises doing business in the markets. For instance, this is true in the field of construction enterprise, IT enterprise, transportation enterprise and insurance enterprise. At the same time, it is characteristic that services which in Europe have normally been provided as public services (welfare services) today increasingly are being provided by private enterprises. Examples are health services, telecommunication services and some transportation services. Accordingly, private enterprises gain in importance as market players in society because of their size and because of the importance of the tasks they perform.  

Following centralization trends, also public bodies have tended to expand. Increasingly, these entities are also perceived of as players in the market. This is true when public institutions act as private enterprises by entering into contracts. The general tendency towards "market conceptualization" in Europe leads to requirements that public enterprises must provide welfare services subject to market like conditions and/or within a market like framework.

The important role played by large private and public enterprises in the market and the tendency to apply market inspired tools in the public sector raises the question of private and public enterprise liability. Thus, civil liability constitutes the natural counterpart to the tendency towards market conceptualization. It must be anticipated that civil liability as a sanction will become relevant in still more areas, basically because large private and public enterprises are interesting as a means of achieving certain political goals and because the tendency towards centralization increases the gab between resourceful and none resourceful parties. Consequently, there is a need for research within the field of private and public enterprise liability as an interdisciplinary, legal research field.