Gold, Goldberg, Kelly, Sherwin & Smith – The Oxford Handbook of the New Private Law

Post by Andrew Gold, John Goldberg, Daniel Kelly, Emily Sherwin, and Henry Smith We have some good news – The Oxford Handbook of the New Private Law has just been published (Oxford; Amazon)!  The Handbook offers exciting developments in scholarship dedicated to the study of private law in general, and to the New Private Law … Read more

Gold – The Right of Redress

Post by Andrew Gold I’m writing to put in a quick word about my new book, The Right of Redress – now published in the Oxford Legal Philosophy Series. (Here is a poster for the book, which includes a discount code.) Corrective justice theories of private law often focus on a wrongdoer’s obligation to fix … Read more

Oxford Studies in Private Law Theory (Miller & Oberdiek eds.) — Call for Papers

Oxford University Press is pleased to announce the launch of Oxford Studies in Private Law Theory, edited by Paul Miller (Notre Dame) and John Oberdiek (Rutgers), and to issue a call for papers for the first volume.  Oxford Studies in Private Law Theory is a series of biennial volumes showcasing the best article-length work across private law … Read more

In Trust We Trust — Yonathan Arbel

Post by Yonathan Arbel

The recent leak of the Panama Papers exposed the public to the magnitude of assets held in offshore accounts. These accounts are often associated with motives such as tax evasion and asset shielding from creditors, although they may be more legitimate motives to locating one’s assets offshore, such as privacy or preference for the rules of a specific legal system.  The estimates of how much is stowed offshore vary significantly, from one to five trillion dollars, an interval so large that it mostly reveals our ignorance. We simply know too little about these accounts, their motives, structures, and value—which, from the viewpoint of those who designed these trusts, is a feature, not a bug.  The most comprehensive work to date on the topic is that of Professors Sitkoff and Schanzenbach, who studied U.S. institutional trustees. However, these trustees are not likely representative of offshore trusts, and so, our understanding of offshore trusts is still foggy.

In a new intriguing paper, forthcoming in the Hastings Law Journal, Adam Hofri-Winogradow is providing us with a glimpse into the clandestine world of onshore and offshore trusts.  Hofri used a combined qualitative methodology of surveying and interviewing providers of trust services. Overall, he surveyed 409 providers of trust services and interviewed 25. Of his many findings, I will highlight just a few.

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Property and “The Right to Include” — Dan Kelly

Post by Dan Kelly

Donald Kochan (Chapman) recently published an essay, “Property as a Vehicle of Inclusion To Promote Human Sociability,” in JOTWELLThe Journal of Things We Like (Lots).  The essay reviews my article on The Right to Include.  In that article, I attempt to highlight the fact that private property allows owners not only to exclude but also to include others.  Inclusion may occur informally, contractually, or through a range of property forms, from easements and leases to common-interest communities and trusts.  While there are benefits from including others in property (think of Airbnb), there are also costs and potential pitfalls of inclusion—coordination difficulties, strategic behavior, and conflicts over use.  For this reason, I argue, the law enables owners to select from a variety of forms that provide different types of anti-opportunism devices, including mandatory rules, fiduciary duties, and supracompensatory remedies.  Ultimately, I contend that “ownership can be inclusive, rather than exclusive; it can facilitate cooperation, not just result in conflict; and it frequently promotes human sociability, not atomistic individualism.”

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Conference Announcement — Contract, Status, and Fiduciary Law (McGill, 11/6-7)

The McGill University Faculty of Law is pleased to announce the forthcoming conference – Contract, Status, and Fiduciary Law – to be held at McGill on 6-7 November 2015. The conference will feature papers by leading legal theorists exploring philosophical questions concerning relationships between contract law, moral and legal conceptions of status, and fiduciary law. … Read more

Private Law in the Digital Age – Dan Kelly

Post by Dan Kelly

Private law aficionados enjoy teaching, and discussing, many of the classic common law cases, Hawkins v. McGee (in contracts), Pierson v. Post (in property), and Vosburg v. Putney (in torts).  But, of course, private law is still relevant for, and able to provide insights into, new legal issues emerging in the twenty-first century.  One of these issues is fiduciary access to digital assets.

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Can We Contract For Fiduciary Loyalty? – Andrew Gold

Post by Andrew Gold

Some of the more interesting puzzles in private law involve the boundaries between subfields.  Here is a recent example that implicates contract law and fiduciary law.  In 2013, the Delaware Supreme Court expressly recognized a contractually created fiduciary duty of good faith.  See Gerber v. Enterprise Products Holdings, LLC, 67 A.3d 400, 418 (Del. 2013).  From different perspectives, several theorists have recently argued that there are qualitative differences between contractual and fiduciary duties.  See Daniel Markovits, Sharing Ex Ante and Sharing Ex Post: The Non-Contractual Basis of Fiduciary Relations, in Philosophical Foundations of Fiduciary Law 209 (Gold & Miller, eds.) (2014); Stephen R. Galoob & Ethan J. Leib, Intentions, Compliance, and Fiduciary Obligations, 20 Legal Theory 106 (2014).  See also D. Gordon Smith, Contractually Adopted Fiduciary Duty, 2014 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1783, 1792 (arguing that a duty arising from the language of a contract should be considered a contractual duty).  Which view is right?

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