Contemporary discussions of private law theory have sought to divine the deep structure and content of private law by reference to two key distinctions. First, the distinction between private and criminal law has been utilized to flesh out the distinctively bipolar structure of private law (and its various departments, namely, property, contract, torts, and unjust enrichment). Second, the distinction between formal and distributive equality has served to highlight the special terms of interaction established in private law. In these pages, I take up the former distinction, arguing that its theoretical significance is overdrawn. I argue that it does not succeed in identifying private law’s precise nature.
Dorfman, Avihay, Private Law Exceptionalism? Part I: A Basic Difficulty with the Structural Arguments from Bipolarity and Civil Recourse (November 24, 2015). Law and Philosophy (2016), forthcoming.