‘Tort Law and Civil Recourse’

Recognizing Wrongs. By John CP Goldberg and Benjamin C Zipursky. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2020. Pp 380. $45. For decades, Professors John Goldberg and Benjamin Zipursky have been developing the thesis that the primary purpose of tort law is to implement the principle of civil recourse. In Recognizing Wrongs, they ‘aim’ to provide ‘a systematic statement’ of this position (p 52). As they forthrightly recognize, civil recourse embodies ‘an apparently obvious truth about its subject’ (p 83). Tort law is a civilized form of dispute resolution that uses liability to redress a defendant’s violation of the plaintiff’s tort right, with redress typically taking the form of compensatory damages for the harm caused by the wrongdoing. Tort liability, therefore, patently satisfies ‘the principle of civil recourse’, which ‘can be summarized as follows: A person who is the victim of a legal wrong is entitled to an avenue of civil recourse against one who wrongs her (p 3) …’

Mark A Geistfeld, Tort Law and Civil Recourse, 119 Michigan Law Review 1289 (2021).

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