Divergent Evolution in the Law of Torts: Jurisdictional Isolation, Jurisprudential Divergence and Explanatory Theories

James Goudkamp and John Murphy, 'Divergent Evolution in the Law of Torts: Jurisdictional Isolation, Jurisprudential Divergence and Explanatory Theories ' in Andrew Robertson and Michael Tilbury (eds), The Common Law of Obligations: Divergence and Unity (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2015) ch 13 (pp.279–2

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19/2016

22 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2016

See all articles by James Goudkamp

James Goudkamp

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

John Murphy

University of Manchester - School of Law

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Since the first wave of law-and-economics scholarship in the United States in the early 1970s, scholars have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to come to grips with tort law from a theoretical perspective. Richard Posner was on the crest of that wave, and his voluminous writings revolutionised how tort law is understood. He contended that tort law (as well as the law generally) is best explained on the ground that it maximises societal wealth. Posner, writing together with William Landes, asserted that ‘the common law of torts’ should be accounted for ‘as if the judges who created the law through decisions operating as precedents in later cases were trying to promote efficient resource allocation’. Many scholars, especially in the United States, remain in the thrall of Posner’s economic model.

Keywords: tort law, negligence, explanatory theories, Commonwealth, Privy Council, House of Lords, defamation, privacy

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Goudkamp, James and Murphy, John, Divergent Evolution in the Law of Torts: Jurisdictional Isolation, Jurisprudential Divergence and Explanatory Theories (2015). James Goudkamp and John Murphy, 'Divergent Evolution in the Law of Torts: Jurisdictional Isolation, Jurisprudential Divergence and Explanatory Theories ' in Andrew Robertson and Michael Tilbury (eds), The Common Law of Obligations: Divergence and Unity (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2015) ch 13 (pp.279–2, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19/2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2747672

James Goudkamp (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

John Murphy

University of Manchester - School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom

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