Private law is one of Oxford's traditional strengths and the private law community, which includes a large number of post-graduate students, continues to produce ground-breaking research across a wide number of topics, and by adopting diverse approaches.

Post-graduate students convene the well-established Obligations Discussion Group and Property Law Discussion Group and their online events attract participants from across the globe. A new Private Law Post-Graduate Research Student Discussion Group, open to post-graduate students from Oxford and beyond, allows such students to meet to present their work and discuss general issues relating to post-graduate life.

Faculty members also regularly organise events and conferences, often working with other groups and centres within Oxford. For example, the 2022 iteration of the Modern Studies in Property Law Conference will be hosted in Oxford and organised by three group members, Natalie Mrockova, Aruna Nair and Luke Rostill. Many of our events are open to all so please do take a look at the forthcoming events related to the Private Law Research Group.  

 

Publications

  • Rory Gregson, 'Is Subrogation a Remedy for Unjust Enrichment?' (2020) 136 Law Quarterly Review 481
    D owes a debt to X. C’s money is paid to X, discharging D’s debt. In these circumstances, the law might give C new rights against D, which resemble X’s extinguished rights against D. This is called subrogation to extinguished rights, which this article calls “subrogation” for short. Subrogation is a strange thing for the law to do. C might deserve rights against D, but why should these rights resemble X’s extinguished rights? English law says that subrogation is a remedy for unjust enrichment. However, some commentators dissent from this view and, in the past four years, the UK Supreme Court has started to reconsider this position. This article argues that subrogation is not a remedy for unjust enrichment in the sense that is usually assumed, since it is not governed by the same rules as other remedies for unjust enrichment. In light of this, judges and scholars need to reconsider what the law of unjust enrichment is, and how it is unified.
  • Edwin Peel, Treitel: The Law of Contract (15th edition, Sweet & Maxwell 2020)
  • A Televantos, Capitalism Before Corporations: The morality of business associations and the roots of commercial equity and law (OUP 2020)
  • Helen Scott, 'Comparative taxonomy: an introduction' in E Bant, K Barker and S Degeling (eds), Research Handbook on Unjust Enrichment and Restitution (Edward Elgar 2020)
    DOI: doi.org/10.4337/9781788114264
    ISBN: ISBN: 978 1 78811 425 7
  • James Goudkamp and Donal Nolan, Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort (20th edn Sweet & Maxwell 2020)
    Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort has been the leading work on the subject since the first edition was published over 80 years ago, and with the publication of this twentieth edition it continues to be a clear, authoritative and comprehensive guide to this area of law. It is widely adopted for use by students, an invaluable resource for practitioners, and regarded in other legal systems as providing a definitive account of the English law of tort. For this edition, the entire text has been thoroughly updated and several chapters have been extensively rewritten. New in this edition: Discussion of hundreds of recent cases, including Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales, Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and Poole BC v GN (duty of care); Patel v Mirza (illegality); Wilkes v DePuy International (product liability); Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd (defamation); O v Rhodes (intentional infliction of physical or emotional harm); Willers v Joyce (malicious prosecution); JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov (No.14) (conspiracy); and five major Supreme Court decisions on vicarious liability and non-delegable duties, including Barclays Bank v Various Claimants and WM Morrison Supermarkets v Various Claimants. A new section on damage in the law of negligence, incorporating discussion of Dryden v Johnson Matthey. Comprehensive coverage of new legislation, as well as the impact on existing legislation of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. More extensive citation of academic commentary. Trusted by generations of students and practitioners throughout the common law world, Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort remains the leading textbook on the English law of tort.
    ISBN: 9780414066212
  • W J Swadling, 'Unjust Enrichment: Value, Rights, and Trusts' (2021) 137 Law Quarterly Review 56
  • Elise Bant, Wayne Courtney, James Goudkamp and Jeannie Marie Paterson (eds), Punishment and Private Law (Hart Publishing 2021)
    The role of punishment in private law is controversial, and the dominance of the compensatory paradigm has tended to deflect attention away from difficult questions that arise in this regard. This volume aims to redress this imbalance. It examines instances or potential instances of punishment in private law. In doing so, it engages with complex debates such as whether private law ought to be an engine of punishment and, if so, how and when punishment should be dispensed. The chapters span the full width of private law, and are written by leading scholars drawn from a range of jurisdictions.
  • B McFarlane, 'Equity and the Justification of Private Rights' in Degeling, Crawford, and Tiverios (eds), Justifying Private Rights (Hart 2021)
    Equity seems to make justifying private rights more complicated. The courts' willingness to recognise a distinct set of equitable rules (of eg property rights, assignment, or estoppel) can compromise justifications offered for the common law position. It is not surprising that calls have regularly been made to limit the distinct role of equity in private law and move to a unified system. This chapter argues that, in fact, equity is crucial not only in justifying particular rights but in justifying the very existence of a system of private rights. This is for two reasons. First, equity plays a distinctive role in mitigating the effects on a particular party, B, of a private right held by A. As a result, equitable rules and principles deal with some of the dangers that arise from a system of private law, in which a specific party, A, has the powers and rights that correlate to liabilities and duties of B. Second, equity plays a positive role in extending the options available to a holder of a right and thus enhancing private law's role in providing opportunities for self-determination. The complications brought by equity are therefore far from needless and to have a full picture of the operation of private rights, attention must be paid to the role performed by equitable doctrines.
    ISBN: 9781509931958
  • B Häcker, 'Contract and Conveyance: The Further Repercussions of Different Transfer Systems' in John Cartwright and Ángel M López y López. (eds), Property and Contract: Comparative Reflections on English and Spanish Law (Hart Publishing 2021) (forthcoming)