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Access_open Skeptical Legal Education

How to Develop a Critical Attitude?

Journal Law and Method, 2013
Keywords academic learning, skepticism, Oakeshott, judgment, Critique
Authors Bart van Klink and Bald de Vries
AbstractAuthor's information

    Law teachers at the university want students to develop a critical attitude. But what exactly does it mean to be critical and why is it important to be critical? How can a critical attitude be promoted? In this article we intend to elucidate the role that critical thinking may play in legal education. We will introduce the idea of skeptical legal education, which is to a large extent based on Michael Oakeshott’s understanding of liberal learning but which relativizes its insistence on the non-instrumentality of learning and reinforces its critical potential. Subsequently, the article presents a teaching experiment, where students, based on self-organization, study and discuss basic texts in order to encourage critical thinking.


Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is professor of Legal Methodology at VU University Amsterdam and head of the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History at VU University Amsterdam.

Bald de Vries
Ulbaldus de Vries is lecturer of Legal Theory at the Department of administrative and constitutional law and jurisprudence at the Faculty of law, Utrecht University. He is a founding-member of the Working Group on Reflexive Modernisation and Law.
Artikel

Access_open The Role of Hierarchy, Example, and Language in Learning

A Confrontation between a Liberal and a ‘Critical’ Understanding of Legal Education

Journal Law and Method, 2013
Keywords skeptical legal education, academic learning, Critique, Knowledge, CLS, liberalism, power
Authors Bart van Klink
AbstractAuthor's information

    In The Voice of Liberal Learning, Michael Oakeshott characterizes learning as a strictly non-instrumental activity. In schools and universities, knowledge is acquired for its own sake. Obviously, this liberal understanding of education differs fundamentally from a ‘critical’ notion of education as advocated by Duncan Kennedy and other members of the CLS movement. From a ‘critical’ perspective, Oakeshott’s conception may be seen as yet another attempt – typical for liberalism and conservatism alike – to depoliticize the process of knowledge production and reproduction and to conceal (and thereby to strengthen and legitimize) its effects on the distribution of power, wealth, status and so forth in society. In this paper, the author will confront both views with each other, especially within the context of legal education. The general purpose is to develop a notion of skeptical legal education, which is to a large extent based on Oakeshott’s understanding of liberal learning but which relativizes its insistence on the non-instrumentality of learning and reinforces its critical potential.


Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is professor of Legal Methodology at VU University Amsterdam and head of the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History at VU University Amsterdam.
Artikel

Access_open Grondslagen en methoden van juridisch onderwijs

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords onderwijsmethode, theorieconcepties, Europeanisering, methodologische dilemma’s
Authors René Foqué
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims at elucidating some methodological dilemmas which should be taken seriously in legal education. It also aims at articulating the process of how these dilemmas emerged both historically and philosophically. The article starts with the observation that our Western legal systems are rooted in a specific theoretical tradition which can be described as being twofold. In a first already ancient (pre-philosophical) conception, theory finds its nexus both in experience and in narrativity, whereas a more modern conception of theory focuses on logical and conceptual coherence, building a system of professional knowledge. The author argues for a combination of both theoretical conceptions as complementary cornerstones of legal educational programs.The twofold theoretical background of our Western legal tradition can offer us a welcome and fruitful basis for dealing with some important methodological dilemmas: an anascopic (from action to institution) vs a katascopic (from institution to action) approach; deductive vs inductive reasoning; problem-oriented thinking vs systems thinking; case based/case oriented vs doctrinal/conceptual thinking. The author argues for a dialectical complementarity between the respective poles of these dilemmas.Finally, the author argues for introducing – already in an early stage of the program –European Union legal thinking as a challenging laboratory ‘in action’ for searching a reflective equilibrium in dealing with the aforementioned methodological dilemmas.


René Foqué
René Foqué is emeritus hoogleraar in de rechtsfilosofie en rechtstheorie aan de Faculteiten Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven en de Erasmus Universiteit te Rotterdam. Aan het European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation te Venetië doceert hij philosophy of human rights.
Artikel

Access_open Exciting Times for Legal Scholarship

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords legal methodology, law as an academic discipline, ‘law and …’-movements, legal theory, innovative and multiform legal scholarship
Authors Jan Vranken
AbstractAuthor's information

    Until recently, legal-dogmatic research stood at the undisputed pinnacle of legal scientific research. The last few years saw increasing criticism, both nationally and internationally, levelled at this type of research or at its dominant role. Some see this as a crisis in legal scholarship, but a closer look reveals a great need for facts, common sense, and nuance. Critics usually base their calls for innovation on a one-dimensional and flawed image of legal-dogmatic research. In this article, the author subsequently addresses the various critical opinions themselves and provide an overview of the innovations that are proposed. He concludes that there are a lot of efforts to innovate legal scholarship, and that the field is more multiform than ever, which is a wonderful and unprecedented state of affairs. This multiformity should be cherished and given plenty of room to develop and grow, because most innovative movements are still fledgling and need time, sometimes a lot of time, to increase in quality. It would be a shame to nip them in the bud now, merely because they are still finding their way. In turn, none of these innovative movements have cause to disqualify legal-dogmatic research, as sometimes happens (implicitly), by first creating a straw-man version of the field and then dismissing it as uninteresting or worse. That only polarises the discussion and gains us nothing. Progress can only be achieved through cooperation, with an open mind towards different types of legal research and a willingness to accept a critical approach towards their development. In the end, the only criterion that matters is quality. All types of research are principally subject to the same quality standards. The author provides some clarification regarding these standards as well.


Jan Vranken
Jan Vranken is hoogleraar Methodologie van het privaatrecht aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

Access_open Zelfrealisatie in onderzoek en methode

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords juridisch promotieonderzoek, probleemstelling, toetsingscriteria, aard van de rechtswetenschap
Authors Lisanne Groen
AbstractAuthor's information

    A detailed description is offered of the debate concerning the question how – within the framework of a normative research question – relevant and operational test criteria can be formulated.


Lisanne Groen
Lisanne Groen is UD staats- en bestuursrecht aan de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam. Zij is tevens redactielid van Recht en Methode.
Artikel

Access_open Hoe rechters denken

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords rechterlijke oordeelsvorming, opleiding, socialisatie, omgevingsinvloed
Authors Maarten van Wel
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper the author attempts to answer the intriguing question how judges think by providing a description of the context of judicial decision-making from the insider’s perspective of a judge trainee. This paper demonstrates that in judicial training socialization plays an important formative role. Looking at a standard model for judging civil cases the author stresses that judicial decisions are essentially arbitrary in the true sense of the word and can only be understood from within the legal system. What makes judicial decisions special is not the argumentative method, but their status. One way the judicial power of decision is restricted is by the membership of judges of a professional group with a shared culture and tradition. The author is under the impression that the influence of this context of judicial decision-making on judging is underexposed in legal studies. This paper tries to give the initial impetus to a further exploration.


Maarten van Wel
Mr. Maarten van Wel is rechterlijk ambtenaar in opleiding en is werkzaam als advocaat in de buitenstage bij Höcker Advocaten te Amsterdam.
Artikel

Access_open Een discipline in transitie

Rechtswetenschappelijk onderzoek na de Commissie Koers

Journal Law and Method, 2011
Keywords rechtswetenschappelijk onderzoek, peer review, ranking, methodologie, grand challenges
Authors Carel Stolker
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2010 verscheen het rapport Kwaliteit & diversiteit van de Commissie Koers die het wetenschappelijk onderzoek van negen Nederlandse juridische faculteiten beoordeelde. De conclusie van het rapport is dat het ‘goed’ gaat met het rechtswetenschappelijk onderzoek in Nederland, maar tegelijkertijd ziet de Commissie ‘een discipline in transitie’. De Commissie dringt er bij de decanen van de faculteiten op aan om veel meer te gaan samenwerken. Als uitgesproken ‘zwak’ benoemt ze het gegeven dat er binnen de discipline geen algemeen gedeelde opvatting bestaat over de wetenschappelijke kwaliteit op grond waarvan onderzoeksresultaten beoordeeld kunnen worden. In deze bijdrage blikt de auteur aan de hand van de bevindingen van de Commissie Koers terug en trekt hij lijnen naar de toekomst. Volgens hem verdient vooral de externe oriëntatie aandacht: de wetenschappelijke verantwoording (peer review, ranking, impactmeting), de steeds belangrijker wordende maatschappelijke verantwoording, en de thematisering van het juridische onderzoek (de Europese ‘grand challenges’ en de Nederlandse topsectoren).


Carel Stolker
Prof. mr. Carel Stolker was decaan van de Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Universiteit Leiden. Daarvoor was hij vice-decaan voor het onderzoek en directeur van het facultaire E.M. Meijers Instituut. In het academisch jaar 2011-2012 werkt hij aan een boek over rechtenfaculteiten.
Artikel

Access_open Praktijkgericht juridisch onderzoek

Journal Law and Method, 2011
Keywords juridisch onderzoek, empirisch onderzoek, praktijkgericht onderzoek, onderzoeksvraag, onderzoeksmodel
Authors Geertje van Schaaijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    In dit artikel wordt de stelling verdedigd dat in een praktijkgericht juridisch onderzoek zowel juridische als empirische onderzoeksmethoden nodig zijn. De centrale onderzoeksvraag in een praktijkgericht juridisch onderzoek dient immers gerelateerd te zijn aan het recht en aan de praktijk, zodat het antwoord op de centrale vraag praktisch bruikbaar is. Vragen van het type ‘mag dat?’ of ‘werkt dit?’ kunnen die relaties met recht en praktijk goed over het voetlicht brengen en sturing geven aan de richting van het onderzoek. In het beredeneerde antwoord op de onderzoeksvraag komt de integratie van methoden en technieken uit de juridische en sociaalwetenschappelijke discipline tot uitdrukking. Het onderzoeksmodel dat in dit artikel wordt uitgebeeld en toegelicht, maakt deze integratie duidelijk en biedt een basis voor een methodologie van praktijkgericht juridisch onderzoek.


Geertje van Schaaijk
Mr. dr. Geertje van Schaaijk doceert juridische vakken, rechtssociologie en methoden en technieken van onderzoek aan de Juridische Hogeschool Avans-Fontys.
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