Lionel Smith, ‘Loyalty’

“Loyalty has many meanings, within and without the law. There is a difficult question about whether loyalty is a virtue, inasmuch as one can be loyal to many causes, not all of them virtuous. For many jurists, the notion of loyalty evokes the common law’s fiduciary relationship and the norms that are particular to that relationship. Although fiduciary relationships represent the common law’s most thorough implementation of loyalty, the law also requires loyalty in other situations. In his study of loyalty, George Fletcher distinguished a minimalist understanding – ‘do not betray me’ – from a maximalist reading – ‘be one with me’. This distinction has echoes all through private and public law. Betrayal is disloyalty …”

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Smith, Lionel, ‘Loyalty’, McGill Law Journal, September 2021, volume 66 issue 1, pp 121-125.

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