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Advanced Introduction to Private Law

Jan M. Smits, Professor of European Private Law, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
In this Advanced Introduction, one of the world’s leading private law scholars takes the reader on an intellectual journey through the different facets and dimensions of the field, from the family home to Kuta Beach and from Thomas Piketty to Nina Hagen. This concise book provides an accessible and fresh introduction to private law, presenting the topic as a unified whole of which the main branches – on contract, tort, property, family and inheritance – are governed by conflicts between individual autonomy and countervailing principles. The book stands out as a unique account of how private law allows individuals to optimally flourish in matters of economy, work, leisure, family and life in general.
Extent: 144 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78471 512 0
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $24.95 Web: $19.96
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78471 514 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Family Law
  • Law of Obligations
  • Legal Theory
  • Research Methods in Law
Elgar Advanced Introductions are stimulating and thoughtful introductions to major fields in the social sciences and law, expertly written by the world’s leading scholars.

In this Advanced Introduction, one of the world’s leading private law scholars takes the reader on an intellectual journey through the different facets and dimensions of the field, from the family home to Kuta Beach and from Thomas Piketty to Nina Hagen. This concise book provides an accessible and fresh introduction to private law, presenting the topic as a unified whole of which the main branches – on contract, tort, property, family and inheritance – are governed by conflicts between individual autonomy and countervailing principles. The book stands out as a unique account of how private law allows individuals to optimally flourish in matters of economy, work, leisure, family and life in general.

Key features include:

• succinct yet engaging and highly informative overview of private law, aimed at an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike
• written in a clear and engaging style
• ample attention to the policy choices behind the rules
• examples from a wide range of jurisdictions across Europe, the UK and the US
• places private law in its larger economic and societal context
• addresses the potential and limits of private law in dealing with global societal challenges, such as economic inequality, the fair use of resources and protecting future generations
• considers how the field could develop in the future.

Engaging and wide-ranging, this is an excellent introduction for students and academics new to the field and allows practitioners to quickly master the core principles behind private law.

‘A clear, accurate and extraordinary concise guide to the major doctrines of private law and current thought about what they mean’
– James Gordley, Tulane University School of Law, US

‘This Advanced Introduction to Private Law reviews the development of private law on contract, tort, property, family and succession. The way in which it underlines conflicts between private autonomy and countervailing principles is fascinating for all those needing to quickly gain an understanding of the core principles and key issues on private law.’
– Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson, University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas, France

‘Jan Smits succeeds in giving a jargon-free and masterly concise overview of the essential questions and debates in private law. Law students would be well advised to read it twice: once at the very beginning and again at the very end of their private law studies. Non-lawyers will find it accessible and stimulating, and they will be surprised how interesting the law is, once it is reduced to its core issues.’
– Stefan Vogenauer, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt, Germany

‘This book provides a splendid overview of the key questions of private law. It is written in a crystal-clear and straightforward language and addresses all core problems of the law of contract, tort and property and of family law and succession law. All issues are placed in a wider social context and often illustrated by references to solutions in English, American, French or German law. While the book was written for a general audience and lacks technical jargon and conceptual refinements it should nonetheless be read by law students as well because it demonstrates in a stimulating and persuasive manner how private law tries to find its way between ensuring the individual`s freedom of choice, on the one hand, and the search for fairness, the defense of the weak and vulnerable and the protection of the public interest, on the other.’
– Hein Kötz, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, Germany
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction: Aims and Contours of Private Law 2. Contract Law 3. Tort Law 4. Property Law 5. Family Law 6. Succession Law 7. Epilogue Index