John Gardner at Home

Memories from Robert Stevens

One of my favourite lines of yours is from "what is tort law for?" where you say that there is an "unlimited amount of non-torture to go round".

If it is meaningful to speak at all of it being distributed, it seems very unjust indeed to me that illness has been distributed to you.

I've spent a large amount of time in recent years, often in pubs with Sandy or Fred or Nick or others, discussing "what John thinks about..." I am not, as presently advised, entirely convinced that there are satisfactory explanations on your view for not enforcing duties of easy rescue, for example. I've also worried about the continuity thesis and breach of contract. If it is the (underlying) reason for the non-complied with duty that persists or continues, and not the primary contractual duty itself, why does the quantum of damages vary (as in law it does) because the reason why contracts must be kept (pacta sunt sevanda) whatever it may be is the same (or near the same) in every case? As a fairly standard liberal, I also really worry about whether the law should be in the business of compelling (prompting? encouraging? educating?) people to comply with their good reasons for action. I probably trust your judgement about what those reasons might be, rather less that of our current legislators. I was in Harvard for a conference last month and was playing the same game with John G and Arthur, speculating about the answers you'd have to the objections we came up with to the "From..." book. Ernie told me that when he is asked by his students to explain the difference between the two of you, he says he believes in one thing, you in many things. Which seems fair.

Love to you, Jenny and your family.