Category Archives: General

Abbe Gluck, ‘Congress, Statutory Interpretation, and the Failure of Formalism’

Abstract: The formalist project in statutory interpretation, as it has defined itself, has been a failure. That project – typified by but not limited to Justice Antonin Scalia’s brand of textualism – has been doomed because even its staunchest supporters have been unwilling to carry it out. The rules that judges employ are too numerous […]

Onni Hirvonen, ‘Groups as Persons? A Suggestion for a Hegelian Turn’

Abstract: Christian List and Philip Pettit have recently argued for a performative theory of personhood in which all agents who manage to perform in the space of obligations are taken as persons. Based on this account they claim that group agents are also persons. This theory has been challenged on the grounds of its historical […]

‘Legal Theory Bookworm: A Realistic Theory of Law by Tamanaha’

“The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends A Realistic Theory of Law by Brian Z Tamanaha. Here is a description: ‘This book articulates an empirically grounded theory of law applicable throughout history and across different societies. Unlike natural law theory or analytical jurisprudence, which are narrow, abstract, ahistorical, and detached from society, Tamanaha’s theory presents a holistic […]

Frederic Sourgens, ‘The Virtue of Path Dependence in the Law’

Abstract: Does the rule of law foster normatively desirable development? As the increasingly prominent literature on path dependence in the law explains, law can be inflexible, inefficient and potentially unjust because courts follow down the path most traveled in prior disputes instead of seeking out the most appropriate resolution to the problem at hand. This […]

John Thomas, ‘Law Reform Now in 21st Century Britain – Brexit and Beyond’

Introduction: … I have taken as the first part of the title of this lecture words with which Lord Scarman would have been very familiar: Law Reform Now – the three words which formed the title of the Gerald Gardiner and Andrew Martin book which contained their blueprint for what would become the Law Commission. […]

Dagan and Dorfman, ‘Postscript to Just Relationships: Reply to Gardner, West, and Zipursky’

Abstract: In ‘Just relationships’ (116 Columbia Law Review 1395 (2016)), we developed a novel theory of private law for a liberal legal order. We argued that private law assumes the moral responsibility to determine just terms of interactions among private persons. Its most basic organizing ideas are substantive freedom and equality. Professors John Gardner, Robin […]

Robin West, ‘The New Legal Criticism’

Introduction: Professors Hanoch Dagan and Avihay Dorfman’s article Just Relationships is a fundamental reinterpretation of the moral ideals of large swaths of private law. Its significance, however, may go beyond even that broad ambition. In this Response, I suggest that Just Relationships is also an exemplar – perhaps par excellence – of an emergent form […]

Dan Priel, ‘The Return of Legal Realism’

Abstract: The main goal of this essay is to explain in what sense ‘we are all realists now’. It examines various answers to this question suggested by existing literature and proposes another. The key is identifying a fundamental divide among the legal realists on what makes their view ‘realistic’. One group of legal realists, of […]

Steve Hedley, ‘The Rise and Fall of Private Law Theory’

Abstract: Over the last four decades of common law thought, there have been increasingly sophisticated attempts to develop comprehensive theories of private law. Chief amongst these are (1) theories of corrective justice, (2) economic theories, and (3) formalist accounts. The common feature of these apparently diverse ‘grand theories’ is a lack of trust in collective […]

Geoffrey Vos, ‘The UK Jurisdictions After 2019’

Introduction: I am delivering this lecture at a time of great change. The General Election has produced a hung Parliament and there remains uncertainty about Brexit. Contrary to what many have said and even more think, Brexit is not just a political question, it raises intensely difficult legal issues that are worthy of careful research […]