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Book description

The idea that the state is a fiduciary to its citizens has a long pedigree - ultimately reaching back to the ancient Greeks, and including Hobbes and Locke among its proponents. Public fiduciary theory is now experiencing a resurgence, with applications that range from international law, to insider trading by members of Congress, to election law and gerrymandering. This book is the first of its kind: a collection of chapters by leading writers on public fiduciary subject areas. The authors develop new accounts of how fiduciary principles apply to representation; to officials and judges; to problems of legitimacy and political obligation; to positive rights; to the state itself; and to the history of ideas. The resulting volume should be of great interest to political theorists and public law scholars, to private fiduciary law scholars, and to students seeking an introduction to this new and increasingly relevant area of study.


‘This excellent and novel volume seeks to reinstate the fiduciary principle to its historic place in regulating a government's relationship with its people. After two centuries of neglect, a growing number of mainly North American scholars have embarked enthusiastically on this task. They have recognized, correctly, that resort to this principle, with necessary modernization, is capable ultimately of providing greater clarity, coherence and guidance in legal and political thought than that which prevails today.'

The Honourable Justice Paul Finn - Federal Court of Australia

‘The fiduciary theory of government holds that governments and government officials only hold power in trust for the benefit of others; therefore they have special duties of fairness and good faith. Debating both the attractions and the problems of the fiduciary conception, these essays are a valuable addition to a growing literature.'

Jack M. Balkin - Yale Law School

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