Advanced Introduction to Private Law

Elgar Advanced Introductions series

Jan M. Smits, Professor of 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.

The complete Elgar Advanced Introductions to Law series is available online as a low cost institutional subscription.

‘Smits’s book is an introduction and is destined primarily for young adepts of legal science to step into the realm of private law. The elegant simplicity of language, avoidance of unnecessary juristic jargon and lots of examples illustrating discussed topics make the book accessible to the beginners. And at the same time, in view of its content, it stands for a recapitulation of current challenges to the private law as well; a summation that helps those of us, who have sunk too deeply into mastery of narrowly marked up topics, to systemize our knowledge anew.’
– A Grebieniow, European Review of 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

2016 144 pp Paperback 978 1 78471 514 4 £16.95 £13.56 $26.95 $21.56
2016 144 pp Hardback 978 1 78471 512 0 £85.00 £76.50 $120.00 $108.00

Elgaronline 978 1 78471 513 7

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Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2JA. Registered number: 2041703

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