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This book argues that private law is best understood as having an aim that is both unifying and distinctive, which is to articulate reasonably acceptable principles as to when agents can legitimately be held accountable for the choices they make in their transactions with one another. The moral centre of this account is the idea that the legitimacy of enforcement in the context of private transactions must depend on the value for parties to those transactions of being able to choose under conditions and from a range of alternatives that they could not reasonably reject as a basis for being held so accountable. This account has the potential to explain how wrong-correcting, distributive, efficiency and autonomy considerations can contribute to the justification of private law.
Emmanuel Voyiakis is a law lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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