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Vol 22 No 11 Nov/Dec 2017

Book of the Month

Cover of The Law of Contract Damages

The Law of Contract Damages

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Random Justice

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Neil DuxburyProfessor of Law, University of Manchester

ISBN13: 9780198268253
ISBN: 0198268254
Published: May 2001
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Hardback
Price: £84.00

Chance inevitably plays a role in law but it is not often that we consciously try to import an element of randomness into a legal process. This is an exploration of the potential for the use of lotteries in social, and particularly legal, decision-making contexts. Considering in detail the history, advantages, and drawbacks of deciding issues of social significance by lot and argues that the value of the lottery as a legal decision-making device has generally been underestimated. The very fact that there exists widespread resistance to the use of lotteries for legal decision-making purposes betrays a commonly held belief that legal processes are generally more important than are legal outcomes. Where, owing to the existence of indeterminacy, the process of reasoning is likely to be excessively protracted and the reasons provided strongly contestable, the most cost-efficient and impartial decision-making strategy may well be recourse to lot. Aversion to this strategy, while generally understandable, is not necessarily rational.

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The Spectre of Chance; Contextualizing the Lottery; Relying on Luck; Dicing with Justice; Lotteries Within Legal Frameworks; Conclusion; Index