Legal Discontinuities — Opening Remarks

7 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020 Last revised: 23 Jan 2021

Date Written: May 10, 2020


The law inevitably draws lines, but why do the lines have such dramatic effects? Being a bit too incautious can turn what would have been lawful conduct into a million dollar claim for negligence. Being a bit unreasonable in assessing danger can turn what would have been justified self-defense into murder with a life sentence. Many have the intuition that as we gradually cross some boundary from permissible conduct into tortious or criminal conduct, the legal consequences should also change gradually. Yet laws often have all-or-nothing effects even when they could be gradual.

To better understand these and related phenomena, we convened an international group of scholars with diverse interests in the law, spanning property, tax, torts, crimes, contracts, and more, for the Legal Discontinuities Conference. The event was held at Tel Aviv University Law School’s Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law from December 29-30, 2019. Contributing papers will be published in a special open access issue of Theoretical Inquiries in Law. This short paper is adapted from my opening conference remarks.

Keywords: Legal Discontinuities, Binary, Scalar, Slices, Lumps, Smooth, Bumpy, All-or-Nothing, Inputs, Outputs, Rules, Standards

Suggested Citation

Kolber, Adam Jason, Legal Discontinuities — Opening Remarks (May 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Adam Jason Kolber (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics