An America’s Cup for Tort Reform? Australia and America Compared
The issue of tort reform has descended from Ivory Towers to populist politics. A few years ago no one could have predicted that “tort reform” would become political argot and a stirring election slogan. Some in the United States see the tort crisis and the stimulus for reform as somehow uniquely American. This Article shows instead that many advanced, industrialized societies are discussing tort reform initiatives actively. The precise nature of the problems, the reasons for reform, and the shape of solutions will be fashioned by indigenous culture, tradition, and the uncertainties of politics. In the common-law world, however, a number of countries are sufficiently similar to provide valuable mutual lessons.
The importance of tort reform suggests that decision makers take a wider, comparative viewpoint. Through comparison, we may better understand our own dilemmas and the reasons for them. Moreover, the operation of reforms in other common-law countries may be transplanted successfully to the United States.
This Article addresses those people, primarily in the United States and Australia, who are interested in these matters of legal change. Both countries can learn lessons that may aid in the choice of appropriate roads to reform.