Western hosts North American Workshop in Private Law Theory

November 11, 2019

Scholars from across Canada and the United States discussed the philosophical aspects of tort law, contract, property, unjust enrichment and equity at the seventh annual North American Workshop for Private Law Theory (NAWPLT-VII) hosted at Western.

The event, held October 25-26, was hosted by Western Law and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and organized by Western Professors Dennis Klimchuk, Zoë Sinel, and Joanna Langille. In previous years, the workshop has been hosted by McGill, Harvard, the University of Toronto, Fordham, the University of Southern California, and Yale. 

This year, the tort papers were by Kimberly Ferzan (Virginia), “Dissent-Sensitive Permissions,” and Sophia Moreau (Toronto), “The Duty to Treat Others as Equals: Who Stands Under It?”

Contract papers were: “A Theory of Contractual Mistake” by Jennifer Nadler (Osgoode);  “The Case Against Equity in American Contract Law” by Jody Kraus (Columbia) and Bob Scott (Columbia); and Lyn K.L. Tjon Soei Len (Ohio State University) presented “Hermeneutical Injustice in Contract.”

Christopher Essert (Toronto) and James Penner (National University of Singapore, currently Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School) provided the two property papers: “The Nature and Value of Public Space” and “Locke on Equality, the Consent to Value Money, and Positional Goods,” respectively.

Evan Fox-Decent (McGill) provided the equity paper, “The Constitution of Equity,” while Felipe Jiménez (USC) explored the methodological commitments of private law scholars in his paper, “Two Questions for Private Law Theory.”

NAWPLT was inspired by a smaller annual Canadian meeting, the Private Law Theory Workshop (PLTW), which rotates among the host schools of Western, Toronto, Queen’s, McGill, and Osgoode. Professor Dennis Klimchuk was gratified that Western, as the host of the very first PLTW, was now hosting NAWPLT.

Western Law’s Dean, Erika Chamberlain, commended the conference organizers for attracting such a strong group of presenters and discussants. “The success of this NAWPLT meeting is a testament to the depth and vitality of private law theory at Western. We are honoured to join the select group of universities that have hosted this prestigious workshop.”

The organizers would like to thank Western’s Faculty of Law and its Faculty of Arts and Humanities as well as the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudencefor their generous financial support. Special thanks are also owed to Anita Lowry, Emilia Greco, and Alex Kubiak for their invaluable assistance.