Product Liability and Causation in Criminal Law

형법상 제조물책임과 인과관계의 확정

  • Received : 2016.12.04
  • Accepted : 2016.12.27
  • Published : 2016.12.31


While product liability has been settled as a technical term in civil law, criminal law does not commonly accept technical term for it. Not like civil law, product liability in criminal law point outs individual responsibility and disability of normative order. Meaning that causation between individual's action of violation of duty and the result of danger of legal interest or infringement of legal interest must be proved. In criminal law excluding "non-result-constituted crimes (Unternehmensdelikt)", charge of injuring, accidental infliction of injury, homicide or involuntary manslaughter is problematic in product liability. Of course, it is necessary to distinguish whether the action related to the outcome is act or ommission. Also the causal relationship between the action and the result must be proved, and the intention or negligence should be recognized. In this paper, it analyzes cases that were problematic in Korea, Germany, Spain, etc. Mainly focusing on the problems revealed in the determination of causal relationship, especially recognizing criminal liability related to products. Furthermore it is followed by the view of reviewing the cause-and-effect relationship by 2 steps, dividing natural scientific causation and the normative causal relationship. In this process, to acknowledge criminal product liability in accordance with recognizing cause-and-effect relationship, there should be general risk of specific substance causing the outcome. This only premise can be meaningful to examine the casual relationship from specific cases. As it shows in some cases and theories, it is not contradicting general law of cause and effect by determining specific causal relationship by free evaluation of evidence if a general causal relationship does not exist. Also since judge's testimony does not hold a dominant position from rule of thumb, it is possible to recognize specific causal relationship. However this paper takes position that if there is no objective and reasonably undeniable cause and effect law. If there is no objective and reasonably undeniable causal law, which is the premise for recognizing concrete causal relations, judge should sentence guilty according to "in dubio pro reo" principle. In addition, it is not allowed for the defendant to burden unproven fact by free evaluation of evidence which has an effect of shift of burden of proof.


Supported by : 단국대학교


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