General risk liability under the Turkish code of obligations and its implications in insurance law: Is it a "Frankenstein's monster"?
MetadataShow full item record
CitationKapancı, K. B., Bağoğlu, B. (23 Şubat 2021). General Risk Liability Under The Turkish Code Of Obligations And Its Implications In Insurance Law: Is It A "Frankenstein's Monster?, Contextualising Insurance Contracts: Interactions With Various Fields Of Law (Day 5) – Webinar – Session I – Insurance Contracts: Intersections With Law Of Obligations, , Koç Üniversitesi.
Risk liability is the strongest of all types of non-contractual liabilities. It is a strict liabilitywhere demonstrating that there is no causality is the only way to be exempted. Therefore, risk liabilitycan never be considered without insurance. This type of liability is usually regulated for specific typesof risks. So, there is always a typical risk defined for a particular operational activity which may causeunavoidable frequent or severe damage, regardless of how much due care is taken.In 2012, Turkish Code of Obligations has introduced a new general clause on risk liabilitywhich is applicable to all kinds of dangerous activities without defining the specific type of risk (art.71). According to this provision, liability could be established if it is demonstrated that an activity ofan enterprise causes an inevitable and significant danger. The said provision is stipulated as follows:“When damage occurs from the activity of an enterprise presenting a significantrisk, the owner of such enterprise and, if any, the operator are severally liable for suchdamage.Considering the nature of the enterprise or materials, tools or powers used in theactivity, if one concludes that an enterprise is likely to cause frequent or severe damageeven if all due care expected from a specialist in such activities is exercised, suchenterprise is deemed to present a significant risk. Particularly, if a special risk liabilityis envisaged in any other law for enterprises presenting the similar risks, such anenterprise is also considered to present a significant risk.Special provisions governing liability for a specific risk are reserved.Even if such activity of an enterprise presenting a significant risk is permitted bythe legal order, those who are injured may claim to balance out the damage caused bythe activity of such enterprise at an appropriate price.”This clause was originally inspired from the article 50 of the Swiss Draft Project for theReform and Unification of Tort Law (Widmer-Wessner Draft Project) but ended up as the“Frankenstein’s monster” as it has not considered this Draft Project in its entirety. At the end, thisprovision has widened the liability of owners and operators of enterprises which presents a significantrisk. But to what extend?The highly debated answer to this question is of utmost importance to set the boundaries ofinsurance. In order to answer this question, one must firstly evaluate the criteria used for assessingthe risk and also the meaning of its vague final paragraph. Accordingly, this paper aims to understandthe rationale for this provision, to evaluate the legal debates regarding the conditions and scope ofliability under this provision and its implications on both tort law and insurance law. Furthermore,this paper intends to discuss the possible role of a general risk clause in our times of climate crisis.So, in a nutshell, the ultimate question of this paper is whether this provision is the “Frankenstein’smonster” or a gateway for climate liability?