Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The Public Management of Liability Risks

Halliday, Simon, Ilan, Jonathan, Scott, Colin (2011) The Public Management of Liability Risks. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 31 (3). pp. 527-550. ISSN 0143-6503. (doi:10.1093/ojls/gqr009) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:34445)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
Official URL:


Contemporary discussions of the relationship between negligence liability and the provision of services by both public and private organizations frequently suggest the emergence of a ‘compensation culture’. Despite empirical evidence that compensation culture claims are somewhat inflated, an anxiety persists that risks of tortious liability may still undermine the implementation of public policy. Concerns about the potential negative effects of liability on public administration frame the problem in various ways. First, there is an anxiety that public authorities may overreact to liability risks by becoming excessively risk averse. Secondly, there is a fear that compensation claiming will divert financial resources away from service delivery and towards the payment of insurance premiums and compensation awards. Thirdly, there is the fear that insurance companies will, as ‘risk bullies’, curtail public service activities. And, finally, there is the suggestion that risk management, including legal risk management, is becoming the dominant mode of government decision-making to the exclusion of professional judgement. This article addresses these concerns through a set of empirical case studies about the management of liability risks associated with road maintenance services. Although our findings suggest that public authorities respond to liability risks in a variety of ways, we found only limited evidence of the above concerns. In general terms, it was a case of public authorities being risk aware and responsive as opposed to risk averse.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/ojls/gqr009
Uncontrolled keywords: empirical legal studies, liability, public law, negligence
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Mita Mondal
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2013 11:08 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Ilan, Jonathan.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.