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Altruism in Private LawLiability for Nonfeasance and Negotiorum Gestio$
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Jeroen Kortmann

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280056

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280056.001.0001

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Towards a General Principle: Using the Existing Doctrines?

Towards a General Principle: Using the Existing Doctrines?

(p.164) 12 Towards a General Principle: Using the Existing Doctrines?
Altruism in Private Law

Jeroen Kortmann

Oxford University Press

Throughout the centuries, the courts' attitude towards necessitous interveners has been ambiguous. There are numerous obiter dicta that oppose the granting of a claim to the intervener. Yet, there is an ever-growing list of cases in which the courts have granted a claim to the voluntary intervener. Regrettably, in granting such claims, the courts have resorted to a variety of doctrines. It is here suggested that the law ought to work towards a general principle allowing voluntary interveners to recover. The logical first step in this process is to investigate whether any of the existing doctrines can be extended so as to incorporate such a general principle. Some of these doctrines can be dismissed out of hand. The law of contract is the first amongst these. Of course, the implied contract theory could have been employed to develop a general principle.

Keywords:   obiter dicta, claims, intervener, courts, doctrines

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