James Penner, ‘From personal life to private law’

From personal life to private law, by John Gardner, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018, 256 pp, £29.99, ISBN: 9780198818755. The title of John Gardner’s delightful new book, From Personal Life to Private Law, is prima facie misleading. The book is not about private law as a whole, and largely concerns whatever duties to repair a person has following their wrong doing, so it is mostly about the law of torts and breach of contract. Gardner is happy to acknowledge this, but I don’t think he acknowledges enough. Or rather, this restricted scope calls, to my mind, for a little more elaboration as to why the ‘tireless themes of private law’, also being the ‘tireless themes of personal life’ (5), are particularly, or specially, relevant to duties of repair, rather than to other areas that private law deals with. Some aspects of those areas, in particular the powers private law grants, to enter contracts, to deal with property and so on, are arguably just as central to any working conception of the connection of personal life to private law that one might table for discussion …

Book Reviews: James E Penner, From personal life to private law, Jurisprudence – An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought. Published online: 29 Apr 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/20403313.2019.1599603.

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