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An Ancient Law of Care

52 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2011  

Nelson P. Miller

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Date Written: September 9, 2011


This article published in the Whittier Law Review shows that torts professors commonly teach that a previously absent or barbaric tort law evolved out of the medieval laws of England. Historical and contemporary analysis of ancient texts shows that it did not. Strict liability, negligence, intentional torts, indirect causation, degrees of negligence, objective reasonableness, notice and knowledge, fixed and variable compensation, and other principal features of modern tort law have been present from ancient times, influencing our own tort law. Interpretive principles help us appreciate the breadth, sensitivity, and timelessness of the ancient tort laws.

Keywords: torts, history, evolution, ancient laws

Suggested Citation

Miller, Nelson P., An Ancient Law of Care (September 9, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Nelson Miller (Contact Author)

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School ( email )

111 Commerce S.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
United States


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