Private Law and Civil Society: Law and Economy

Neil MacCormick

in Institutions of Law

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780198267911
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191714832 | DOI:

Series: Law, State, and Practical Reason

 Private Law and Civil Society: Law and Economy

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This chapter argues that just as law interacts especially closely with politics when public law is in focus, so it interacts especially closely with economics when private law is in focus. The legal system, the political system, and the economic system together sustain, or perhaps constitute, the state and civil society. The chapter has five main sub-themes. The first concerns private law in its narrower sense, as the law of private life and private relationships. These relationships themselves belong within a broader set of concerns, those relating to the ‘private sector’ of the economy. The chapter considers private law in this broader sense, and how law and economy interact. Some general reflections on the institutions of private law are provided, with particular reference to the law of torts or delict and the forms of corrective justice involved in that. Finally, law, economy, and information are discussed, focusing particularly on the topic of intellectual property.

Keywords: private life; commerce; property and obligations; intellectual property

Chapter.  8654 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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