The Remainder: Deserting Private Wrongs?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter suggests that we should question whether private law is genuinely about legal wrongs. It argues that the correction of wrongs ordinarily leaves a normative remainder. In morality, these remainders can provide, for example, reason for ongoing regret and remorse over one’s wrongdoing, and shows that corrective action taken subsequent to a wrong is, at most, a second-best way of responding to the reasons one has to comply with the violated moral duty. This chapter considers that the existence of a normative remainder is condition requisite to the characterization of faulty conduct as a wrong. It also claims that remainders must track the character of the wrong: moral wrongs leave moral remainders, and legal wrongs leave legal remainders. Thus, this chapter argues that whether private law is concerned with legal wrongs properly so-called depends on whether legal remedies leave a legal remainder. Doubting that such legal remainders obtain, the chapter raises a challenge to viewing private law as a law of legal wrongs.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCivil Wrongs and Justice in Private Law
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190865290
ISBN (Print)9780190865269
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


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