Intimate Lies and the Law

ISBN : 9780190905941

Jill Elaine Hasday
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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  • Systematically examines deception in sexual, marital, and familial relationships and uncovers the hidden body of law that shields intimate deceivers from legal consequences
  • Argues that the law has placed too much emphasis on protecting intimate deceivers and too little importance on helping the people they deceive
  • Proposes that courts begin with a rebuttable presumption that the law's treatment of intimate deception will track its treatment of deception in other contexts, so deceived intimates can use the same causes of action they would have when suing deceptive strangers

Intimacy and deception are often entangled. People deceive to lure someone into a relationship or to keep her there, to drain an intimate's bank account or to use her to acquire government benefits, to control an intimate or to resist domination, or to capture myriad other advantages. No subject is immune from deception in dating, sex, marriage, and family life. Intimates can lie or otherwise intentionally mislead each other about anything and everything.
Suppose you discover that an intimate has deceived you and inflicted severe-even life-altering-financial, physical, or emotional harm. After the initial shock and sadness, you might wonder whether the law will help you secure redress. But the legal system refuses to help most people deceived within an intimate relationship. Courts and legislatures have shielded this persistent and pervasive source of injury, routinely denying deceived intimates access to the remedies that are available for deceit in other contexts.
Jill Elaine Hasday's Intimate Lies and the Law is the first book that systematically examines deception in intimate relationships and uncovers the hidden body of law governing this duplicity. Hasday argues that the law has placed too much emphasis on protecting intimate deceivers and too little importance on helping the people they deceive. The law can and should do more to recognize, prevent, and redress the injuries that intimate deception can inflict.
Entering an intimate relationship should not mean losing the law's protection from deceit.


Introduction: So Much Deception, So Little Time

Part I: The Practice of Intimate Deception
1: Why Do People Deceive Their Intimates?
2: Why Does Intimate Deception Work?
3: What Injuries Can Intimate Deceivers Inflict?

Part II: The Law of Intimate Deception
4: A Legal History of Intimate Deception
5: Modern Law's Sharp Divide Between Deception Within and Outside Intimacy
6: The Legal Protection of Ordinary Deception in Courtship, Sex, and Marriage
7: Intimate Deception Outside of Romantic, Sexual, or Marital Relationships

Part III: Reforming the Law of Intimate Deception
8: Work to Be Done



About the author: 

Jill Elaine Hasday is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and the Centennial Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Her work focuses on family law, antidiscrimination law, constitutional law, and legal history. She graduated from Yale Law School and Yale College and clerked for Judge Patricia M. Wald of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

"Intimate Lies and the Law is rigorous, bold, and carefully researched, yet terrifically readable. Hasday has dug far and deep into the law and social science of intimate deception to give us an authoritative volume on this wrenching human domain. Whereas the law often blames victims for being duped, Hasday imagines a world in which trust is supported and rewarded. Her proposal for change-that the law treat intimate deception more like other kinds of deception-is powerful and sweeping, yet practical and workable. Timely and important, Intimate Lies and the Law has the potential to reshape not only the legal terrain but the very human relationships that live and breathe in the law's shadow." - Elizabeth Emens, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, and author of Life Admin: How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better, and Live More

"In Intimate Lies and the Law, Jill Hasday maps a big, fascinating, sobering subject: the law's regulation (including neglect) of deceptions amongst those closest to us. She explores this difficult terrain masterfully with verve, thoroughness, and a keen eye for the telling detail. She casts in a new light a huge and influential body of law that teems with experiences and lessons that are simultaneously familiar and odd. This is an important book that will be of interest not only to academics but also to general readers. Impressively rigorous, it is also exceptionally accessible." - Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"Hasday breaks new ground in systematically analyzing the law on deception in intimate relationships. She intelligently exposes how incoherencies in this body of law creates a legal regime that undermines our deepest aspirations for family relationships. Readers will never look at this body of law the same way again." - Maxine Eichner, Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law, UNC School of Law

"With a masterful marshalling of evidence, Jill Hasday paints a bleak picture of intimate relationships and the pervasive deception that often shapes them. Hasday leaves no stone unturned, making a convincing case that the law has unjustifiably failed duped intimates by refusing to deploy standard legal remedies. Like everything Hasday writes, this book is comprehensively researched, effectively organized, and compelling from beginning to end. The only downside to reading this book is the realization that your life, too, may be built on a bed of lies." - Joanna L. Grossman, Ellen K. Solender Endowed, Chair in Women and the Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

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