June 04, 2005
Law & Society Saturday
There are at least two interesting papers being presented today at the Law & Society Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. First up is Hila Keren's (UC-Berkeley) We Insist! Freedom Now: Does Contract Doctrine Have Anything Constitutional to Say? We've previously noted the piece here. It's part of the session "Law and the Public-Private Dichotomy: Public Regulation of the Private Sector," today (Saturday) at 10:15 a.m. local time.
Later this afternoon. at 4:30 p.m., Carl Stychin (Reading) will present De-Meaning of Contract:
This paper interrogates how lesbian and gay relationship forms have related to the institution of contract law and to the ideal of contract as a basis for the structuring of those relationships. First, the paper will examine the ways in which lesbian and gay politics in the UK has rejected the language of contract as it has emerged in the political process surrounding the Civil Partnerships Bill. For both the government and for gay political groups, the language of ‘status’ is preferred to ‘contract’. This rejection of contract sits uneasily with the way in which lesbian and gay relationships historically have been celebrated on the basis that they are formed through negotiated understandings between equal parties. In this explanation, relationships achieve and embody the very ideals of contract, and lesbian and gay relationships are radically different from those which fall within the parameters of Pateman’s critique of the ‘sexual contract’. Second, the paper interrogates a recent UK case, Sutton v Mishcon de Reya and Gawor & Co, a professional negligence suit involving a ‘master and slave’ cohabitation agreement, in which the parties demonstrate a remarkable faith in the power of law generally, and the power of contract law specifically, as a means to regulate human relationships. Finally, the paper will consider what this ambiguity regarding private law ordering and public law status suggests for a critique of wider claims regarding same-sex relationships and sexual citizenship as public status.
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