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The subject will introduce and engage critically with a number of theoretical perspectives on private law, ie, the law that governs interactions between citizens of the state. With reference to different rules, principles, doctrines and remedies in the law of torts, contract law, the law of unjust enrichment, property law, and the law of equity and trusts, the subject will consider some key theoretical writings on private law and reflect on some debates of contemporary interest in private law theory.
In any given year, topics will vary, but may include some or all of the following:
- Law and economics insights into private law;
- Corrective justice theory and private law;
- Civil recourse theory and private law;
- Perfectionism, value pluralism and private law;
- Liberal, libertarian and communitarian perspectives on private law;
- Is it possible to draw a boundary between public and private law?;
- The place of equity in contemporary private law;
- How, if at all, should private law be classified?;
- Theoretical perspectives on the practices of promising and contracting; and
- Private law and interpersonal trust.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and critical understanding of some key theoretical perspectives on private law, and an integrated understanding of the similarities and distinctions in those various perspectives;
- Have an advanced knowledge of some classical and contemporary debates and issues in private law theory;
- Be able to deploy analytical and evaluative skills in thinking independently about problems relating to private law rules, principles, doctrines and remedies from a theoretical perspective; and
- Be able in a self-directed way to research, develop, and express in written form, theoretical arguments about questions relating to private law doctrine and practice.
A student who has successfully completed the subject will demonstrate a high-level ability to:
- Identify, locate, reflect critically on and evaluate relevant research materials, including cases, other legal materials, and philosophical writings;
- Formulate, develop, manage and realise, from inception to completion, a sustained research essay engaging with theoretical literature as well as legal rules, principles, doctrines and/or remedies;
- Express, in written form, reflections and arguments of a philosophical character touching on topics relating to private law, with both legal and philosophical audiences in mind; and
- Understand the significance of method to research in legal theory, and formulate and evaluate methodological approaches to the study of private law theory.
Last updated: 30 October 2020