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2017 Baker Lecture - Fall

Private Law, Fundamental Rights, and the Rule of Law: Hugh Collins


WVU Law Fall 2017 Baker Lecture -- Hugh Collins

Hugh Collins is the sixteenth successor to William Blackstone as the Vinerian Professor of English Law, All Souls College, University of Oxford. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy.

He studied law at Oxford (MA, BCL) and Harvard Law School (LLM), and became a Fellow of Brasenose College Oxford, in 1976 from where he moved in 1991 to be the Professor of English Law at the London School of Economics until 2013.

His books include:  Marxism and Law (1982); The Law of Contract , 4th ed. (2003); Justice in Dismissal (1992); Regulating Contracts (1999); Employment Law, 2nd ed. (2010); A European Civil Code: The Way Forward (2008); Networks as Connected Contracts (by G. Teubner), edited with an Introduction (2011); Labour Law: Law in Context Series (2012) with K.D. Ewing and A. McColgan; European Contract Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (edited collection 2017).  

His current book projects include two edited collections: The Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law (with T. Khaitan), and The Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (with G. Lester and V. Mantouvalou).

Lecture Abstract

Scholars of the fields of private law including contract, tort, and property law have not traditionally been concerned with the application of fundamental rights or human rights to disputes between private parties.  Those fundamental rights contained in constitutions and international conventions have been traditionally regarded as applicable only to states but not private individuals and companies.  In recent decades, however, in many jurisdictions courts have been permitting arguments based upon fundamental rights to influence the reasoning and outcomes of litigation between private parties.  The lecture addresses the question of what kind of challenge is presented to private law by the insertion of fundamental rights into its rules and principles, and whether the challenge presents a threat to the coherence and integrity of private law or instead offers a liberating opportunity for change in accordance with a modern conception of the Rule of Law. 

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