Nicholas McBride, ‘The Humanity of Private Law – Chapter 1. Building Blocks’

Abstract:
In this draft of the first substantive chapter from The Humanity of Private Law, I set out a (more or less) complete grammar of private law, explaining how fundamental private law concepts like right, duty, obligation, wrong, liability, power, disability, interest, and property relate to each other, while noting the occasions when the ways in which these concepts are used will be affected by what account of private law one endorses – so that, for example, the notion of someone having a ‘right to’ something is indispensable under a Kantian account of private law, while non-Kantians need not make use of such an idea and should not, if they want to avoid confusion.

Among the cases discussed in this chapter are Hedley Byrne v Heller, Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd v Martin, Bradford v Pickles, Armory v Delamirie, Vincent v Lake Erie, and Rylands v Fletcher. Among the issues discussed are: (1) the nature of legal duties, and what makes a particular legal duty a private law duty; (2) the nature of the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights; (3) the distinctions between different kinds of private law liabilities, and private law powers; (4) whether there is a duty to pay damages to the victim of one’s wrong, or make restitution to someone at whose expense you have been unjustly enriched; (5) the proper analysis of awards of damages in lieu of an injunction; and (6) the nature of property, interests in property, and rights arising out of having an interest in property.

McBride, Nicholas, The Humanity of Private Law – Chapter 1. Building Blocks (November 23, 2015).

First posted 2015-12-01 06:45:10

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