Fault is the common law source of liability in the Civil Code of 1804.
The Civil Code institutionalized civil liability, which is a major innovation of the Napoleonic Code.
The legislature of 1804 based liability on fault. He was largely inspired by the canonist tradition. Domat thus expressed the philosophy of the law, founded on the ” wrongs ” which one finds as the basis of the law of responsibility in common law ( tort law ) :
All the losses and all the damages which can occur by the act of any person […] must be repaired by the one whose recklessness or other fault gave rise to it. Because it is a wrong which he did, even though he would not have intended to harm “ (Domat, Les loix civiles .., L. II, t. VIII, 5, VI, n ° 1 )
The drafters of the Civil Code had a subjective conception of fault, which involved an analysis of the behavior of the individual as being blameworthy.
The Civil Code replaced the casuistry of the Old Law by a generalization expressed by the general formula of article 1382 of the Civil Code.
Any fact whatsoever of man, which causes damage to others, obliges him through whose fault it has happened to repair it.
This general formula is accompanied by a second, in article 1383 of the Civil Code.
Everyone is responsible for the damage he has caused not only by his own act, but also by his negligence or recklessness.
Articles 1382 and 1383 have a universal vocation. They create a general duty of care and diligence. Thanks to the abstract definition of misdemeanors and quasi-delicts they make it possible to protect victims from any damage whatsoever. They are a means for the courts to adapt the law to technological developments while awaiting possible legislative intervention.