‘Duty’ is a term that is used in several areas of the law – notably the ‘duty of care’ and ‘fiduciary duty’. This article considers the introduction of the term ‘duty’ itself to the law, before it became part of the compound terms. In order to do so, the article surveys a range of sub-disciplines, including trusts, negligence law, defamation and employment law, to identify the earliest uses of the term. To explore the potential motivations for its incorporation, additional material, such as early modern legal and, later, political treatises, is considered. The conclusion is that the introduction of the term, while reactionary, may still be seen in terms of the development of the legal subject in the English common law.
Chris Dent, The Introduction of Duty into English Law and the Development of the Legal Subject, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, https://doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqz032. Published: 17 January 2020.