Time: 3:00 - 6:00pm
Venue: Room 313, Third Floor, Law Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS
The event will be followed by a drinks reception.
The Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context is delighted to host a symposium on John Gardner’s recent book From Personal Life to Private Law (OUP 2018).
Professor Gardner will introduce the book, and this will be followed by four comments from:
The event has been organised and will be chaired by Dr Noam Gur.
Mounting a lawsuit against someone who has wronged you is a prospect no less fearful than being on the receiving end of such a lawsuit. Litigation in the courts has a reputation for being a byzantine process far removed from ordinary life, often failing to address people's real grievances while adding to their pain. Yes, there is money to be had if you win. But beyond that, what is it all in aid of?
In this book John Gardner argues that, in spite of their legal intricacy, many of the questions that perennially occupy the courts in civil cases are actually timeless puzzles about the human condition. The architecture of the law of torts and the law of contract turns out to track the contours of personal life much more closely than you might expect. Using a wide range of examples from literature and life as well as law, Gardner explores big questions about our relationships to our own pasts and our own futures as well as to other people. What are friends for? Why does it matter how your actions turn out? What is the good of saying sorry? Why regret your mistakes? How can anyone be compensated for an irreversible loss? Why would you want to hold onto the life you already have? And what does any of this have to do with all those protracted legal disputes about damaged cars, ruined holidays, and leaky roofs?
John Gardner FBA is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, with the title of Professor of Law and Philosophy in the University of Oxford. From 2000 to 2016 he held Oxford's Chair of Jurisprudence. Before that he was Reader in Legal Philosophy at King's College London (1996-2000), Fellow and Tutor in Law at Brasenose College, Oxford (1991-6) and Examination ('Prize') Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1986-91). He has also held visiting positions at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University, the Australian National University, the University of Auckland, and most recently Cornell University. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Ethics, Law and Philosophy, and The Journal of Moral Philosophy. Called to the Bar in 1988, he has been a Bencher of the Inner Temple since 2002 (although he does not practice). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2013.
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