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Civil Wrongs and Justice in Private Law$
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Paul B. Miller and John Oberdiek

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190865269

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190865269.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 June 2021

The Roles of Rights

The Roles of Rights

(p.3) 1 The Roles of Rights
Civil Wrongs and Justice in Private Law

David Owens

Oxford University Press

This chapter aims to clarify the moral foundations of private law’s response to wrongs, as well as the underlying deontic structure of relationships of right, duty, wrong, and remedy in ethics and in law. It begins by introducing the idea of ethical individualism. Ethical individualism implies that: duties are individuated, individuation of duties entails that the right-holder will ordinarily enjoy certain powers in relation to the normative significance of wrongs that they suffer, and the morally salient facts about right-holders that justify their rights are such as to require special consideration of the right-holder in the discharge of individuated duties. This chapter presents some important refinements on ethical individualism and registers some caveats to accounts of civil wrongs which expressly or impliedly endorse it. One refinement explains variability in the law’s recognition of normative powers in right-holders. Another refinement this chapter discusses is in relation to the analysis of rights and powers at issue in third-party beneficiary arrangements.

Keywords:   civil wrongs, private law, ethical individualism, individuated duties, normative powers, third-party beneficiary

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