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PhD Dissertations Archive

Submitted by amabel on Tue, 12/23/2014 - 10:31am

An archive of PhD dissertations completed by students at the Faculty of Law.


Submitted by amabel on Mon, 01/18/2016 - 5:07pm

Kalkbrenner, Astrid; Compensating for Catastrophic Harm: Civil Liability Regimes and Compensation Funds

Author: Kalkbrenner, Astrid
Title: Compensating for Catastrophic Harm: Civil Liability Regimes and Compensation Funds
Call Number: K955 .K35 2015
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses


This thesis is concerned with civil liability for catastrophic incidents such as the BP Deepwater Horizon or Fukushima. Most civil liability regimes for potentially hazardous activities adopt design features, such as channelling and limiting the amount of liability. Channelling means that liability is assigned to a specific group of injurers and the liability of other potential defendants is excluded. The combination of channelling and financial limits may limit the overall compensation available to victims potentially resulting in under-compensation of victims. Depending on the jurisdiction, the remaining liability is left with the state or the victims. This thesis argues that the ordinary structure of civil liability regimes consisting of a liability rule backed up by a financial security instrument, such as insurance, is insufficient to address hazardous activities that result in catastrophic damage if adequate compensation for victims is the policy goal. Instead it is necessary to provide a liability regime that provides compensation in a series of layers. A liability rule assigns liability to the injurers, determines the standard of liability and other modalities such as limitation in amount. The first compensation layer consists of a financial security instrument that ensures liability is covered through financial means. For hazardous activities with potentially catastrophic outcomes, it is essential that another additional layer enhances the overall financial capacity to compensate for an accident. This thesis argues for the creation of a compensation fund financed by the group of potential injurers through a mechanism that reflects the risk contributed by each potential injurer. Compensation funds reduce reliance on financial aid from the state and avoid leaving the burden on the victims, while enhancing overall compensation capacity. There is only a limited body of literature on the topic of compensation funds. This thesis contributes to research on compensation funds through the study of existing compensation funds in the area of oil tanker pollution and nuclear accidents, and offers a theoretical analysis of funds. Compensation funds have the potential to make an important contribution to the efforts of adequately compensating victims and internalising costs. Thus, they should be an integral part of a civil liability regime for hazardous activities.


Submitted by amabel on Tue, 12/23/2014 - 10:38am

Thompson, Chidinma Bernadine; Making Federalism through Law: Regulating Socio-economic Challenges of Energy Development, a Case Study of Alberta's Oil sands and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Author: Thompson, Chidinma Bernadine
Title: Making Federalism through Law: Regulating Socio-economic Challenges of Energy Development, a Case Study of Alberta's Oil sands and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Call Number:
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses


Socio-economic challenges of large scale oil and gas development, especially oil sands, within municipal boundaries are not given adequate attention in Alberta's oil and gas development regulatory framework. There is no forum in the framework that allows a thorough consideration and proactive resolution, by responsible governments, of socio-economic challenges of large scale energy development prior to, or at the time of, project approvals. The jurisdiction of municipal authorities to regulate such development is highly circumscribed. None of the recently adopted initiatives by the province seems to have closed this gap in the regulatory framework. The gap exists because Alberta's oil and gas regulatory framework adopts the unitary model of governance. Given the critical role of public infrastructure and services in energy resource development, the thesis recommends a reform of Alberta's legislative and regulatory framework for energy development using federalism and its underlying principle of non-centralization. The thesis recommends a suite of non-centralized intergovernmental mechanisms which can conveniently fit into the regulatory framework and anchored in the energy legislative scheme. Using legally-mandated intergovernmental partnerships, Alberta can proactively obviate severe growth pressures, crippling demands on public infrastructure and services, lower quality of life for workers in the host areas, difficulty in attracting and retaining a workforce, and greater risk to energy resource development and huge private investment. A weather-proof regulatory framework with built-in, federal fail-safe mechanisms that enable energy development projects while preserving the wellbeing of host communities is sine qua non to achieve Alberta's ambitious global energy leadership goals.