Biography

Dori Kimel is Fellow and Senior Law Tutor at New College. Having completed his D.Phil he took up a lectureship at University College London, then returned to Oxford to take up a Fellowship at New College in 2001. His teaching and research interests are in legal, moral and political philosophy, criminal law, and contract law theory. Amongst his publications is the book From Promise to Contract: Towards a Liberal Theory of Contract (Oxford 2003).

Publications

Recent additions

  • D Kimel, 'The Next Best Thing To a Promise' in Haris Psarras and Sandy Steel (eds), Private Law and Practical Reason: Essays on John Gardner's Private Law Theory (OUP 2021) (forthcoming)
    What does the promisor owe the promisee when a promise is broken? Some writers have argued that the same reparative obligation – ‘next-best performance’ – arises, at least by default, in all such cases, no matter what kind of promise has been broken, what background relationship there is between promisor and promisee, and what the circumstances of the breach have been. This paper argues against this position, in part by offering a critique of Neil McCormick’s and John Gardner’s particular theses to that effect. The paper argues, to the contrary, that the one thing that the promisor owes the promisee in all cases of breach is an account, whereas the emergence of other reparative obligations in a given case depends on the combined effect of a number of variables, including the independent desirability of the promised action, reciprocal dimensions of the promise, the fault attending the breach, and the norms of the background relationship between the parties. The conclusions are shown to have a bearing on the relationship between reparative obligations in promise and in contract, on the question of the extent to which promisors (or promisors and promisees jointly) can control the normative implications of promises, and on the relationships between promissory obligations and other moral obligations.
  • D Kimel, De la Promesa al Contrato: Hacia Una Teoria Liberal del Contrato (Marcial Pons 2018)
    ISBN: 978-84-9123-454-8

Chapter (5)

D Kimel, 'The Next Best Thing To a Promise' in Haris Psarras and Sandy Steel (eds), Private Law and Practical Reason: Essays on John Gardner's Private Law Theory (OUP 2021) (forthcoming)
What does the promisor owe the promisee when a promise is broken? Some writers have argued that the same reparative obligation – ‘next-best performance’ – arises, at least by default, in all such cases, no matter what kind of promise has been broken, what background relationship there is between promisor and promisee, and what the circumstances of the breach have been. This paper argues against this position, in part by offering a critique of Neil McCormick’s and John Gardner’s particular theses to that effect. The paper argues, to the contrary, that the one thing that the promisor owes the promisee in all cases of breach is an account, whereas the emergence of other reparative obligations in a given case depends on the combined effect of a number of variables, including the independent desirability of the promised action, reciprocal dimensions of the promise, the fault attending the breach, and the norms of the background relationship between the parties. The conclusions are shown to have a bearing on the relationship between reparative obligations in promise and in contract, on the question of the extent to which promisors (or promisors and promisees jointly) can control the normative implications of promises, and on the relationships between promissory obligations and other moral obligations.
D Kimel, 'Personal Freedom and the Protection of the Weak Through the Lens of Contract: Jurisprudential Overview' in S. Vogenauer and S. Weatherill (eds), General Principles of Law: European and Comparative Perspectives (Oxford: Hart Publishing 2016)
D Kimel, 'Personal Autonomy and Change of Mind in Promise and in Contract' in G. Klass, G. Letsas, P. Saprai (ed), The Philosophical Foundations of Contract law (Oxford University Press 2015)
D Kimel, 'Fault and Harm in Breach of Contract' in Ben Shahar and Porat (eds), Fault in American Contract Law (Cambridge University Press 2010)
ISBN: 9780521769853

Review (1)

Book (2)

D Kimel, De la Promesa al Contrato: Hacia Una Teoria Liberal del Contrato (Marcial Pons 2018)
ISBN: 978-84-9123-454-8
D Kimel, From Promise to Contract: Towards a Liberal Theory of Contract (Hart Publishing 2003)
ISBN: 1-84113-212-8

Journal Article (7)

D Kimel, 'The Morality of Contract and Moral Culpability in Breach' (2010) 21 King’s Law Journal 213
ISBN: 0961-5768
D Kimel, 'Elección de un paradigma para la teoría del contrato: reflexiones sobre el modelo relacional' (2008) 10 Revista de responsabilidad civil y seguros: publicación mensual de doctrina, jurisprudencia y legislación
D Kimel, 'Remedial Rights and Substantive Rights in Contract Law' (2002) 8 Legal Theory 313
The article examines the relationship between law and morality through the prism of the comparison between contract and promise, and seeks to expose as an over-simplification the notion that the law can systematically replicate or enforce moral practices without altering them in the process. It focuses on the apparent discord between the reluctance of courts to enforce contracts, and the view that the core contractual obligation is performance. Having argued that, by contrast to promise, the intrinsic function of contract is not to foster personal relationships but to facilitate personal detachment, the article explains the abovementioned discord as an implication of Mill’s harm principle.
D Kimel, 'Neutrality, Autonomy, and Freedom of Contract' (2001) 21 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 473
The article examines the popular notion that liberalism is committed to a particularly rigid conception of freedom of contract. The article identifies the roots of that notion in certain misconceptions of modern liberalism and of the nature of contract, and argues instead liberal theory of contract is in fact compatible with, and some cases directly requires, various forms of intervention in the freedom of contract.

Case Note (1)

D Kimel, 'Inadvertent Recklessness in Criminal Law' (2004) 120 Law Quarterly Review 548 [Case Note]

Research programmes

Research Interests

jurisprudence, moral & political philosophy, criminal law and contract law

Options taught

Jurisprudence, Criminal Law (Mods), Jurisprudence and Political Theory, Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law

Research projects