On September 21-22, 2012, the University of Toronto hosted an innovative conference to consider the extent to which the rule of law has implications for the content of private law. The conference was co-organized by Professor Dennis Klimchuk of Western and Professor Lisa Austin of Toronto.
The conference featured presentations from Trevor Allan (Cambridge), Hanoch Dagan (Tel-Aviv), David Dyzenhaus (Toronto), Evan Fox-Decent (McGill), John Gardner (Oxford), William Lucy (Durham), Gerald Postema (North Carolina), Mary Jane Radin (Michigan), Arthur Ripstein (Toronto), Henry Smith (Harvard), Stephen Smith (McGill), Ben Zipursky (Fordham), and the two organizers. Attending from Western Law were Andrew Botterell, Jason Neyers, Stephen Pitel and Zoë Sinel.
One of the central aims of the conference was to challenge the notion that the rule of law is essentially a public law doctrine of only marginal concern to private law scholars. As is the case in public law, the discussion after each presentation illustrated how different conceptions of the rule of law can generate quite different answers to doctrinal debates in private law. The organizers intend to publish a book featuring the papers from the conference.