Neyers Presents to the 108th Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars

Prof. Jason Neyers at the conferenceOn September 6, 2017, Professor Neyers gave a presentation entitled “Deceit and Rights” to the 108th Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars. The conference was held at University College Dublin. 

Writing in 1910, Edward Jenks, who was one of the founders of the SLS, expressed doubt as to whether the tort of deceit was “really in accordance with the principles of English Law.” He thought that the tort presented two problems. The first was that it was unclear what right the tort protected: “the action cannot be fitted into the scheme which classifies torts according to the rights or interest which they infringe.”  The second was that it was unclear what normative work fraud was doing: “Deceit appears to be the only tort in which a particular mental attitude is, not merely an essential of liability, but, virtually, the sole essential.” Professor Neyers offered an interpretation of the tort of deceit that solved both of Jenks’ problems. He argued that the tort of deceit protects us from the dispossession of all of our rights (rather than only one right in particular), and that the requirement of fraud ensures that any purported transfer is not binding since the parties lack the necessary consensus ad idem. Viewed in this way, Neyers argued, the tort of deceit is very much in keeping with the principles of English law.

The Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) consists of nearly 3000 members who teach law in a university or similar institution or who are otherwise engaged in legal scholarship. Founded in 1908, it is the oldest as well as the largest learned society in the field of law. The Society is the principal representative body for legal academics in the UK as well as one of the larger learned societies in arts, humanities, and social science.