Abstract. The law of tort serves two main functions: compensation of damage and prevention of damage. During the period of industrialisation in the nineteenth century the law aimed to secure the greatest possible freedom of action for economic operators and required proof of fault. Modern laws recognise the dangers inherent in many economic activities and have increasingly objectivised the notion of fault. In addition, the special risks that attach to certain forms of activity have led to strict liability for harm arising from such activity. Czech law takes a modem approach, and indeed includes a general presumption of fault once it has been shown that damage has resulted from the infringement of a legal duty. The onus is on the tortfeasor to prove that all reasonable care has been taken. Czech law also includes a very general liability for damage caused in the course of business and a num ber of special liabilities. The relationship between the different approaches to liability is not entirely clear. Although other European states are increasing the scope of their laws on strict liability, few national laws are as wide ranging as the Czech law.
Developments at the European level are limited. Greater harmonisation of rules would increase transparency for the consumer. Such legislation and proposals for legislation as exist demonstrate the same trends as are apparent at national level. These trends include: imputation of fault either because of objective ncglect of reasonable care or because of the assumption of an unusual risk; a presumption of unlawfulness where harm to person or property occur; the need for personal capacity to bear responsibility; vicarious liability of employers; recognition of the possibility of contributory negligence.
This convergence of thought is not evident in relation to the law of unjust enrichment, and there are no moves to harmonise the law at the European level. Czech law includes a general principle that enrichment unjustly acquired must be restored. This covers acquisition of both property and other benefits.European Review of Private Law