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Common-sense causation in the law

Summers, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0002-4978-7743 (2018) Common-sense causation in the law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 38 (4). 793 – 821. ISSN 0143-6503

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ojls/gqy028


Judges often invoke ‘common sense’ when deciding questions of legal causation. I draw on empirical evidence to refine the common-sense theory of legal causation developed by Hart and Honoré in Causation in the Law. I show that the two main common-sense principles that Hart and Honoré identified are empirically well founded; I also show how experimental research into causal selection can be used to specify these principles with greater precision than before. This exploratory approach can provide legal scholars with a plausible new set of hypotheses to use in re-examining the decided cases on legal causation. If correct, the new common-sense theory that I develop has important implications not only for debates within legal scholarship, but also for judicial practice on issues of legal causation across both criminal and private law.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2018 11:59
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:09

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