Abstract. Joël Weevauters, a mentally handicapped person, had been allocated a place at a Centre d’aide par le travail (occupational training centre). He set fire to a forest belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Blieck, who brought an action against the association which managed the Centre and its insurers, claiming compensation for the loss they had suffered.
The Court of Appeal found for the plaintiffs, holding that the association and its insurers were liable for damages under Article 1384(1) of the Civil Code. They argued that thejudgment of the Court of Appeal finding them liable was wrong, since there was only responsibility for others in those cases specifically provided for by law and that the Court of Appeal had not stated the circumstances in which the association could be said to be responsible for the acts of those persons aiiocated to it.
The Cour de Cassation held:
The judgment states that the Centre managed by the association had the task of looking after mentally handicapped persons, within a protected milieu, and that Joel Weevauters was subject to a regime involving total freedom of movement during the day; in such circumstances, from which it is apparent that the association had accepted the task of organising and controlling, on a permanent basis, the way of life of this handicapped person, the Court of Appeal was right to decide that the association must be responsible for Mr. Weevauters, within the meaning of Article 1384(1) of the Civil Code, and that it was liable to make good the loss which he had caused.European Review of Private Law