Robyn Carroll, ‘Apologies as a Legal Remedy’

An apology is an unorthodox legal remedy. Most likely it is also regarded as unsuitable as a remedy in the eyes of many lawyers. Yet we know that apologies are very important to many people, including complainants, litigants and victims of crime and that there has been increasing attention paid by the law to apologies in recent years. The reference to apology in a legal context inevitably raises questions about its meaning. What does an apology involve? What makes an apology meaningful? Is the law concerned whether an apology is given sincerely? Is an ordered apology an apology? This article addresses these and other questions, the role of apologies as a remedy for parties to a civil action, and court orders to apologise, and the grounds on which ordered apologies have been justified. It also refers to the apology as a remedy in litigation and other legal proceedings aimed at advancing public and professional interests by means of economic and professional regulation. The aim of the article is to demonstrate that apologies have an established remedial role in areas of Australian law and to identify some important issues and challenges that arise as a result.

Carroll, Robyn, Apologies as a Legal Remedy (July 31, 2013). Sydney Law Review, Vol 35, (2013); UWA Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2013-18.

First posted 2013-08-02 17:27:36

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