The 'other' category in the classification of obligations
Much has been written recently about "taxonomy" or, more specifically, about the classification of our law of obligations, particularly by Professor Birks.1 Drawing comparisons with the science of Charles Darwin, Birks argues for greater awareness by lawyers of the importance of classification and for better taxonomy in our law. Leaving aside for now the doubts one may entertain about the merits of Birks’ quasi-zoological approach to classification,2 or about whether such attention to taxonomy will ultimately result in improvement in our law,3 the burden of his writing is in favour of a four-fold categorisation of the law of obligations. Starting with a classification of common law obligations into contract, tort, unjust enrichment/restitution, and other causative events, Birks incorporates equitable obligations, so that all obligations, regardless of their jurisdictional and historical origins, can be divided into the categories of consent, wrongs, unjust enrichment/restitution, and 'others'.4 The category of consent thus includes, for example, both contracts and express trusts,5 the category of wrongs thus includes, for example, both torts and equitable wrongs such as breaches of fiduciary duty.
1 2 3 4 5 See notes in chapter.
© Copyright Cavendish Publishing Limited and Robertson, Andrew, 2004
Joachim Dietrich. "The 'other' category in the classification of obligations" The law of obligations: Connections and boundaries. Ed. A. Robertson. Great Britain: Cavendish Publishing, 2004. 111-126.
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