What happens when faults committed by public and private persons have combined to cause the victim’s loss?
Are the faults of public persons assessed individually by the administrative judge and those committed by private persons by the judicial judge?
The Conseil d’Etat was seized of a contentious opinion by the Administrative Court of Amiens and recalls that the administrative judge can order the public person to compensate the entirety of the damage, who can then exercise a recourse claim against the private person involved.
The Conseil d’Etat recalls that
‘when a damage is caused by several faults which, committed by different persons having acted independently, each normally bore this damage at the time they occurred, the victim can seek before the administrative judge the reparation of his prejudice by requesting the condemnation of one of these persons to reparation of the whole of his prejudice. One of the co-authors cannot then exonerate himself, even partially, from his responsibility by invoking the existence of faults committed by the other co-author.’
A victim may therefore seek compensation for his or her entire loss before the administrative court against the public entity, which will then proceed to a recourse action, without the victim having to undergo additional procedural delays.
The Conseil d’Etat adds that:
‘There is, in this hypothesis, no need to take into account the sharing of liability between the co-authors, which only affects the reciprocal relations between them, but not the character and extent of their obligations towards the victim of the damage.’