James Goudkamp is Professor of the Law of Obligations and Fellow of Keble College. Much of his research is focused on tort law although his interests extend to other parts of the law of obligations and also to civil procedure. James is the author of over 100 publications. One of James's main works is Tort Law Defences. Together with Professor Peter Cane, James is an author of the 9th edition of Atiyah's Accidents, Compensation and the Law and, together wtih Professor Donal Nolan, an author of the 20th edition of Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort Law. James has recently completed a major project on contributory negligence with Professor Nolan, which resulted in the publication of two volumes, Contributory Negligence: Principles and Practice and Contributory Negligence in the Twenty-First Century.
James studied science and law at the University of Wollongong, and was awarded the University Medal in law (2003). He then read for postgraduate degrees at Magdalen College, Oxford (BCL, 2007, MPhil, 2008 and DPhil in 2010). James was previously an Associate Lecturer in Law, Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong (2004-2005), an Associate to the Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG of the High Court of Australia (2005-2006), a Lecturer in Law, St Hilda's College, Oxford (2008-2009), the Shaw Foundation Junior Research Fellow in Law, Jesus College, Oxford (2009-2011) and a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford (2011-2013). He holds or has held visiting or cognate positions at Harvard Law School, the National University of Singapore, the University of Western Australia and the University of Wollongong. He is an member of the American Law Institute and an advisor to the Restatement (Third) on the Law of Torts to the Person.
James maintains chambers in London (7 King's Bench Walk) and is an Academic Bencher of the Inner Temple.
- 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.A sharp contrast is often drawn between the criminal law and private law, and this contrast frequently provides a platform for the claim that punishment rather than compensation is the province of the criminal law whereas the reverse is true for the private law. Th is understanding has long enjoyed substantial support. As Glanville Williams observed almost 75 years ago, ‘[i]t is commonly said that the civil action for damages aims at compensation, as opposed to the criminal prosecution which aims at punishment’. A remarkable feature of this claim is its mutual exclusivity. It denies that either field pursues both ends. Given this book’s purpose we do not need to evaluate the proposition that the criminal law’s purpose is punishment rather than compensation. We merely note that it misses an important part of the truth in view of, for example, the power of the criminal courts to make compensation orders. Although the goal of compensation is admittedly generally less significant than that of punishment, it is a function of the criminal law nevertheless. As for the other half of the claim – that private law is about compensation rather than punishment – it too is a half-truth. One the one hand, it is undoubtedly the case that compensation is central to at least parts of private law. Consistently with this, compensatory damages is the only remedy for torts that is available as of right. On the other hand, private law recognises several remedies that are avowedly non-compensatory, such as punitive (or exemplary) damages and restitutionary damages. The claim is also mired in controversy, especially in so far as it suggests that punishment does not have, or should not have, a place in private law. Those who oppose private law operating as an engine of punishment draw upon several well-rehearsed arguments. It is these arguments that render punishment in private law controversial, and we begin this chapter by exploring them with reference to the chapters that comprise this collection. Many of these arguments are advanced in the context of punitive damages, which is private law’s most explicit manifestation of a concern with retribution. But they can be (and sometimes expressly are) extended so as to constitute objections to punishment in private law more generally, and it is clear that the debate about whether punishment has a place in private law goes far beyond the institution of punitive damages.This chapter addresses 10 misconceptions regarding punitive damages. In 2001, Lord Nicholls said that punitive damages ‘ are a controversial topic, and have been so for many years’. As we shall see, some of the misconceptions discussed in this chapter have contributed to the controversies that surround the award of punitive damages, and our overall assessment is that punitive damages have often been seriously misunderstood by both the courts and commentators alike. Unless and until basic misapprehensions regarding punitive damages are corrected, judicial and academic analyses regarding punitive damages are destined to remain mired in confusion and reform eff orts are likely to be misguided. Our concern is ultimately with the English law of punitive damages although we periodically touch on the law elsewhere.
Edited Book (9)
Journal Article (41)
Case Note (33)
Internet Publication (1)
Tort law; law of obligations; civil procedure; commercial law; criminal law; comparative private law; remedies
Options taughtTort, Criminal Law (Mods), Principles of Civil Procedure, A Roman Introduction to Private Law
News articles for James Goudkamp
James Goudkamp and Donal Nolan convened an online workshop on the theme Scholars of Contract Law
James Goudkamp elected as a Member of American Law Institute
James Goudkamp elected as an Academic Bencher of the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple
Publication of 'Scholars of Tort Law' edited by Donal Nolan and James Goudkamp
Contributory Negligence in the Twenty-First Century by James Goudkamp and Donal Nolan
Blog posts by James Goudkamp
Punitive Damages in Action
By James Goudkamp, Keble College | Eleni Katsampouka, Faculty of LawOxford Business Law Blog
Contributory Negligence in the Twenty-First Century: An Empirical Study
By James Goudkamp, Keble College | Donal Nolan, Worcester CollegeOxford Business Law Blog