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30 Law & Phil. 1 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/lwphil30 and id is 1 raw text is: Law and Philosophy (2011) 30:1-50                                 © Springer 2010
DOI 10.1007/s10982-010-9086-6
(Accepted 25 August 2010)
ABSTRACT. In this paper I discuss the proposal that the law of torts exists to do
justice, more specifically corrective justice, between the parties to a tort case. My
aims include clarifying the proposal and defending it against some objections (as
well as saving it from some defences that it could do without). Gradually the paper
turns to a discussion of the rationale for doing corrective justice. I defend what I
call the 'continuity thesis' according to which at least part of the rationale for
doing corrective justice is to mitigate one's wrongs, including one's torts. I try to
show how much of the law of torts this thesis helps to explain, but also what it
leaves unexplained. In the process I show (what I will discuss in a later companion
paper) that 'corrective justice' cannot be a complete answer to the question of
what tort law is for.
What is tort law for? This may strike some as a leading question. It
may seem to predispose us towards what Ernest Weinrib calls a
'functionalist' answer: an answer that makes tort law the servant of
some 'external end', such as the minimization of suffering, the
* This paper is a remote descendant of my Lord Upjohn Lecture, 'What is Tort Law For?', delivered
to the Association of Law Teachers at Gray's Inn, London on 6 June 2003. Since then different versions
(with various names) have been presented at Dartmouth College, the Australian National University,
the University of Oxford, the University of East Anglia, the University of Texas at Austin, Yale Law
School, the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh, and the American Philosophical
Association (Eastern Division). Many people - too many to list or even to keep track of- made valuable
comments and suggestions on these occasions, leading to countless revisions and reorientations. Allow
me, however, to reserve special mention for Sameer Singh, Andrew Gold, Aditi Bagchi, Prince Saprai,
Matthew Henken, Ben Zipursky, and Jules Coleman.

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