Legal scholars analyze fiduciary law topics

In mid-July, more than 20 leading scholars from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel and Australia convened at DePaul University College of Law to explore the philosophical foundations of fiduciary law—one of the most important, but often underanalyzed areas of private law. The workshop-style conference offered scholars an opportunity to present and discuss their work for a forthcoming book to be published by Oxford University Press.

“For someone who is preparing a chapter in the book, there are tremendous benefits in the workshop-style conference,” said Professor Tamar Frankel, Michaels Faculty Research Scholar at Boston University School of Law. “One is for the comments on the chapter I wrote, but the other is for the richness of the ideas and opinions concerning the subject. Needless to say, the depth and variety of the discussion was astounding.”

Scholars discussed a broad variety of topics, including the nature of fiduciary status; the existence and content of loyalty duties; the connection between fiduciary duties and Kantian moral philosophy; the distinctions between fiduciary relationships and contractual relationships; the economics of fiduciary relationships; duties of disclosure; and public fiduciary law.

Justice James Edelman, Supreme Court of Western Australia, said the debate and discussion during the conference helped clarify his thinking and understanding of fiduciary law. “I could not have imagined a better format than the heavily Socratic approach of considerable reading before the conference, five-minute presentations, and hours of vocal, but polite, debate,” he said.  

The conference was co-organized by Professor Andrew Gold, DePaul University College of Law, and Professor Paul Miller, McGill University Faculty of Law.