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KJuris: Cecile Fabre (Oxford) - ‘Victims’ duties to wrongdoers’

3 Mar
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KJuris: King's Legal Philosophy Workshop
Part of KJuris: King's Legal Philosophy Workshops 2020/21

KJuris Seminar with Cecile Fabre (Oxford)

Title: ‘Victims’ duties to wrongdoers’


A duty to repair a wrong is typically owed by the wrongdoer to his victim. The literature on reparative justice focuses on the grounds for and limits to that duty. A no less interesting but neglected question, which John Gardner addresses in From Personal Life to Private Law (OUP 2018) is that of what the victim (V) owes the wrongdoer (W) in connection with the latter’s reparative duties. More precisely put: is V under a duty to W to help him ‘finish the reparative job’ (PLPL, p.107), for example by (a) accepting reparative payments or apologies; (b) using reparative payments to actually repair the wrong? Gardner gives V considerable latitude with respect to asking for and refusing remedial measures in the first instance, yet is reluctant to do so with respect to what V can do once the remedial measure, in payment cases, has been taken. My aim is both to probe Gardner’s account of victims’ duties, about which I am sceptical, and to use it as a springboard to develop such an account. In so doing, I attend to differences between payments and apologies, but also to other steps which (be it by Gardner’s own lights or my own) victims and third parties on behalf of victims might be under a duty to take as a means to contribute to the realisation of reparative justice.

Speaker biography

Cecile Fabre is a political philosopher, and currently Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. She is also Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and affiliated with the Faculty of Philosophy, the Department of Politics and International Relations, and Nuffield College, Oxford. Her research interests are in theories of distributive justice; the philosophy of democracy; just war theory; the ethics of foreign policy, with particular focus on the ethics of economic statecraft on the one hand, and the ethics of espionage on the other hand.

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