The Handbook offers exciting developments in scholarship dedicated to the study of private law in general, and to the New Private Law (“NPL”) in particular. The NPL movement embraces the traditional common law subjects (property, contracts, and torts), and also adjacent, more statutory areas, such as intellectual property and commercial law. It includes important areas that have been neglected in the United States but are beginning to make a comeback. These include unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies. “Private law” can also mean private law as a whole, raising issues such as the public-private distinction, the similarities and differences between the various areas of private law, and the institutional framework supporting private law – including courts, arbitrators, and even custom.
The New Private Law aims to bring a new outlook to the study of private law by moving beyond reductively instrumentalist policy evaluation and narrow, rule-by-rule, doctrine-by-doctrine analysis, so as to consider and capture how private law’s various features fit and work together. This movement has also begun resuscitating the notion of private law itself in the United States and has brought an interdisciplinary perspective to the more traditional, doctrinal approach often seen in Commonwealth countries. The Handbook embraces a broad range of perspectives to private law – including philosophical, economic, historical, and psychological perspectives – yet it offers a unifying theme of seriousness about the structure and content of private law. It will be an essential resource for legal scholars interested in the future of New Private Law scholarship, and also to scholars interested in private law more generally.