The Taxonomy of Civil Recourse

Andrew S. Gold

Harvard Law School; DePaul University College of Law

October 3, 2011

Florida State University Law Review, Forthcoming

This paper is a contribution to a symposium on civil recourse theory. The paper argues that civil recourse theory has developed into several different theories, with varying conceptions of what it means for a plaintiff to “act against” another. These conceptions include norms of enforcement, accountability, and private revenge. After developing the significance of each conception, the paper analyzes whether civil recourse theory has the flexibility to incorporate these distinct ideas. It suggests that civil recourse theory may be able to incorporate each conception by adopting a pluralist approach. It also suggests that this would provide a significant explanatory benefit. A pluralist approach would better enable civil recourse theory to explain not only tort law, but also other fields, such as contracts and unjust enrichment.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: civil recourse theory, private law, contract theory, tort theory, unjust enrichment, punitive damages

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Date posted: October 4, 2011 ; Last revised: May 10, 2012

Suggested Citation

Gold, Andrew S., The Taxonomy of Civil Recourse (October 3, 2011). Florida State University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1937832

Contact Information

Andrew S. Gold (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School
DePaul University College of Law ( email )
25 E. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL Cook County 60604-2287
United States
312-362-5927 (Phone)

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