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What is Tort Law for? Part 1: The Place of Corrective Justice


John Gardner


University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

January 18, 2010

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1/2010

Abstract:     
In this paper I discuss the proposal that the law of torts exists to do justice, more specifically corrective justice, between the parties to a tort case. My aims include clarifying the proposal and defending it against some objections (as well as saving it from some defences that it could do without). Gradually the paper turns to a discussion of the rationale for doing corrective justice. I defend what I call the 'continuity thesis' according to which at least part of the rationale for doing corrective justice is to mitigate one's wrongs, including one's torts. I try to show how much of the law of torts this thesis helps to explain, but also what it leaves unexplained. In the process I show (what I will discuss in a later companion paper) that 'corrective justice' cannot be a complete answer to the question of what tort law is for.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 61

Keywords: Tort, breach of contract, wrongdoing, justice, efficiency, reparation, correction, reasons, obligations

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Date posted: January 19, 2010 ; Last revised: January 26, 2010

Suggested Citation

Gardner, John, What is Tort Law for? Part 1: The Place of Corrective Justice (January 18, 2010). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1/2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1538342 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1538342

Contact Information

John Gardner (Contact Author)
University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )
St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom
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