Precontractual Justice

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This article develops a theory of just contractual relationships for a liberal society. As a liberal theory, our account is premised on liberalism's canonical commitments to self-determination and substantive equality. As a theory of contract law, it focuses on the parties' interpersonal interactions rather than on the justice (or welfare) of the social order as a whole. Normatively, the article claims that the rules governing cases where one party experiences harsh circumstances or vulnerability during the bargaining process or operates under significant informational disadvantage must be guided by the commitment to relational justice, that is, to reciprocal respect for self-determination and substantive equality. Jurisprudentially, the article studies the systemic difficulties hindering the translation of these normative prescriptions into legal language and analyzes how they affect the form assumed by the law of precontractual justice and its institutional pedigree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-123
Number of pages35
JournalLegal Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


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