Nicola Brutti, ‘Legal Narratives and Compensation Trends in Tort Law: The Case of Public Apology’

The metanarrations about legal concern reached an increasing role in criticizing overcompensation cases. Litigation-adversarial system is perceived as too expensive for private and public finances. Someone underlined that emphasis on communication and voluntariness renders mediation more likely to resolve disputes.

Today public apology is playing a positive role in policies centered on alternative informal dispute resolution, due to a restorative justice model. A public gesture of apology by the wrongdoer could help to prevent litigation especially in moral or punitive damages cases. The article suggests that a different narrative of facts by legal means can be achieved.

Different legal meanings of public apology in eastern and western legal traditions are here investigated. According to a comparative analysis, the article focuses on different solutions issued by case law and legal transplants. It points out that the situation is very patchworked, although some jurisdictions have provided a specific legal framework for apologies.

However, its proper legal effects could shift in a wide range of solutions depending on certain circumstances: shaming sanction, mitigating factor on damages assessment, admission against interests, moral redress, self-reputation healing. Some criticisms referred to each specific meaning are here underwrited. In particular, the threat about apologies as metanarrations enforced by Courts concerns: insincerity, rule of law violations, harm to freedom of expression, mediatic manipulation.

Brutti, Nicola, Legal Narratives and Compensation Trends in Tort Law: The Case of Public Apology (April 27, 2012). European Business Law Review [2013] 127-148.

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