TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Herstein on How Tort Law Empowers

Ori Herstein (King's College London) has posted to SSRN How Tort Law Empowers.  The abstract provides:

The following realization has begun to dominate contemporary tort theory: in order to understand tort law, theorists must also focus on the legal power that tort law vests in tort victims to pursue a remedy, not only on the implications of holding tortfeasors liable for such a remedy.  This insight has lead some of the leading theorists of tort law – often writing under the banner of ‘civil recourse theory’ – to suggest that tort law empowers tort victims to pursue and even to obtain redress from tortfeasors.  This view has even been expanded to describe private law in general.  Yet, close scrutiny reveals that tort law mostly does not vest in tort victims a legal power over the rights of tortfeasors.  The same is most likely true for private law more broadly.  For the sake of both descriptive accuracy and of realizing its prescriptive potential, civil recourse theory is best amended to view the legal rights and powers of tort victims, as well as the realities of civil litigation, more soberly, and with more conceptual accuracy.  This article endorses and grounds the more modest and I think orthodox view on how tort law and private law more broadly empower victims of civil wrongs.


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