Stephen Smith, ‘Rights-Threats, Wrongs and Injustices: The Common Law’s Causes of Action’

Abstract
On what grounds are private law remedies awarded? This question has received surprisingly little attention from legal scholars. Although the circumstances in which particular kinds of remedies are awarded have been discussed in detail, there have been few attempts to draw general principles from these discussions. This essay attempts to fill this lacuna. Focusing on private law remedies that require defendants to do or not to do something (eg, specific performance, injunctions, damages, restitution), the essay argues that there are three basic ’causes of action’ in the common law: rights-threats, wrongs and injustices. The essay also briefly discusses the meaning of ‘remedy’ and the general role of judicial remedies in private law.

Smith, Stephen A, Rights-Threats, Wrongs and Injustices: The Common Law’s Causes of Action (December 10, 2017), (2017) 27 New Zealand Universities Law Review 1033.

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