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    The theme of the special issue of Law and Method on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics consists both of content-related as well as didactical-oriented contributions, of which most are written in the Dutch language and two are written in the English language. The content-related approaches show that in education in legal ethics use can be made of professional standards, constitutional principles as well as general ethical theories (such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics). Because lawyers work with ‘the law’, broader or narrower conceptions of law (in relation to morality) also affect legal reasoning and are therefore relevant to education in professional legal ethics. However, these approaches are also put into perspective: the leap forward from moral reasoning based on abstract core values and ethical principles to morally correct action in concrete moral dilemmas in legal practice is a large one. Several solutions are proposed: I. teach ethics indirectly, stressing the importance of facts and of professional role consciousness, and of the importance of formal and informal respect for all concerned, as an essential part of the professional lawyers’ role (Kaptein – written in English); II. use insights from social psychology to overcome barriers to actual ethical behaviour (Becker and Mackor); III. use dialogues about case studies that demonstrate different aspects of judicial ethics for judges (Brenninkmeijer&Bish – written in English) or IV. give (to future governmental lawyers) context-sensitive bottom-up moral dilemmas to enhance realism, alertness and role resistance against opposing forces (Van Lochem). A relevant theme in the didactical approaches to legal ethics is the absence or limited practical professional experience law students have, so that, for example, conversation techniques based on personal experience have limited value. At university level, this can be remedied to some extent by reinforcing one’s own experience, i.e. experiential learning, or by bringing the experiences of others into the classroom, for example with guest lecturers from the field, or by telling and discussing fictional or true stories (Van Dongen & Tigchelaar). Education at university gives a good starting point for (professional) legal ethics, followed by post-academic legal ethics education and legal practice as lifelong learning school. A contribution with a focus on the notary (Waaijer) highlights the different approaches within this continuum.


Emanuel van Dongen
Dr. Emanuel van Dongen is Assistant Professor Private Law at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, Utrecht School of Law.

Jet Tigchelaar
Dr. Jet Tigchelaar, Assistent Professor Legal Theory, researcher at Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht School of Law.
Artikel

Access_open Professional Ethics for Judges – Lessons Learned from the Past. Dialogue as Didactics to Develop Moral Leadership for Judges

Special Issue on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics, ­Emanuel van Dongen & Jet Tigchelaar (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, July 2021
Keywords professional ethics, ethical dilemmas, judiciary, independence
Authors Alex Brenninkmeijer and Didel Bish
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is an intimate link between good conduct by judges and the rule of law. The quintessence of their role is that judges shape a trustworthy and fair legal system from case to case. Ethical trading is not carved in granite, and judges must determine their course on different levels. First, it concerns personal conduct and requires integrity and reliability. On the second level, the challenge is to achieve proper adjudication by conducting a fair trial in accordance with professional standards. Third, judges exercise discretion, in which normative considerations run the risk of becoming political. They should act independently as one of the players in the trias politica. A triptych of past cases illustrate moral dilemmas judges may encounter in their profession. Calibrating the ethical compass is not an abstract or academic exercise. A dialogue at the micro (internal), meso (deliberation in chambers) and macro levels (court in constitutional framework) could be incorporated in the legal reasoning as a didactic framework to make future judges aware of their ethical challenges.


Alex Brenninkmeijer
A.F.M. Brenninkmeijer, PhD is Member of the European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg. Professor of Institutional Aspects of the Rule of Law at Utrecht University.

Didel Bish
D.A. Bish, LLM is a trainee at the European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg.
Artikel

Access_open The Normative Framework of Labour Law

Journal Law and Method, September 2019
Keywords labour law, normative framework, inequality, social justice
Authors Nuna Zekić
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article looks at how normative questions, i.e. ‘what should the law be?‘, are approached in modern labour law scholarship. A distinction is made between internal and external normative frameworks for analysis, whereby internal frameworks are made up of principles, values or standards that are part of the law and the external frameworks are made up of theories outside of law. As a functional legal field, labour law can also benefit to a great deal from empirical research. However, the article argues that empirical facts by themselves have a limited normative value and that we need a normative framework in order to answer normative and evaluative questions. Therefore, the aim of the article is to review, clarify and evaluate the internal normative framework of labour law.


Nuna Zekić
Associate Professor, Department of Labour Law and Social Policy, Tilburg University.
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