Relational Justice and Torts
Research Handbook on Private Law Theories (Hanoch Dagan & Benjamin Zipursky eds., 2020), Forthcoming
17 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2019 Last revised: 21 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 21, 2020
This Chapter introduces relational justice to the study of tort law. It argues that tort law matters to a liberal society not necessarily because it provides private persons a court-administered system of redressing wrongdoing in a just, civil, or efficient manner. Rather, tort law matters because it determines pre-wrong terms of involuntary interactions so that people could, rather than merely would, relate as substantively free and equal private persons. This way of identifying the moral point of tort law carries certain explanatory and justificatory implications. I demonstrate this claim by focusing on workplace safety, the doctrines of nonfeasance liability, and the standard of reasonable care.
Keywords: torts, relational justice, nonfeasance, reasonable care, equality
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