Evan J. Criddle, Paul B. Miller & Robert H. Sitkoff, Introduction, in The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law 11 (Evan J. Criddle, Paul B. Miller & Robert H. Sitkoff eds., 2019).
Abstract: In recent years, the study of fiduciary law has undergone a paradigm shift. Rather than treat fiduciary principles as subsidiary elements of legal fields, such as trust law or corporate law, a burgeoning group of scholars has undertaken to study fiduciary law as a coherent general field of study that encompasses aspects of both private and public law. Case law and academic commentary have progressed to the point that it is now possible to generate a detailed mapping of the field. To this end, the newly published Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law provides a near-encyclopedic survey of the terrain, focusing primarily on U.S. jurisprudence but also incorporating perspectives from other legal traditions. In its breadth and depth of coverage, the Handbook stands alone as a uniquely authoritative guide to the current state of the law and scholarship in the field. This essay, which is the Introduction to the Handbook, explores fiduciary law’s emergence as a general field of study and explains the Handbook’s ambitious contributions to the field. These contributions are grouped thematically into four parts. First, the Handbook surveys fiduciary principles across diverse contexts, ranging from agency law and the law of investment advice, to family law and the law of lawyering, to public offices and public international law. Second, the Handbook identifies and synthesizes several fundamental principles of fiduciary law that apply across these contexts, including the core fiduciary duties of loyalty and care. Third, the Handbook explores how fiduciary principles have developed across time and in different legal traditions around the world. Lastly, the Handbook considers how different legal theories, interdisciplinary approaches, and social institutions may contribute to the academic study and development of fiduciary law. The Handbook thus furnishes a single source to which readers can turn for guidance on fiduciary principles across a host of substantive fields, jurisdictions, and epochs.