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Artikel

Access_open On Identifying Assumptions Underlying Legal Arrangements

Some Conceptual and Methodological Considerations

Journal Law and Method, May 2022
Keywords (Legislative) assumptions, legal arrangements, inference to the best explanation, theory-driven evaluations
Authors Frans L. Leeuw and Antonia M. Waltermann
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legal arrangements rest on behavioural, cognitive, social, and other assumptions regarding their role and function in society and the legal system. The identification and subsequent evaluation of these assumptions is an important task for legal scholarship. In this article, we focus on the identification and categorisation of these assumptions, providing conceptual distinctions and methodological guidance. We distinguish between assumptions about the value(s), norm(s), or interest(s) underlying a legal arrangement, which can be legal or non-legal, and assumptions about the relationship between the legal arrangement and its underlying value(s), norm(s), or interest(s), which can be logical, causal, or contributory. Regarding the identification, we consider explicit references and inference to the best explanation and theory-driven evaluations as possible methods. Inference to the best explanation, we posit, functions as a manner of reconstructing the theory that the person(s) creating a legal arrangement had in mind regarding the place and function of that legal arrangement in society. Given this, we offer a step-by-step approach to reconstructing this theory in use, drawing from theory-driven evaluations and its sources in the social sciences. These distinctions and guidelines can contribute to understanding the context and untangling the complexities involved in identifying the assumptions that underlie legal arrangements.


Frans L. Leeuw
Prof. dr. Frans Leeuw, Professor emeritus, Law, Public Policy and Social Science Research, Department of Foundations and Methods of Law, Maastricht University.

Antonia M. Waltermann
Dr. Antonia Waltermann, Assistant Professor of Legal Theory, Department of Foundations and Methods of Law, Maastricht University.
Artikel

Access_open Experimental Regulations and Regulatory ­Sandboxes – Law Without Order?

Special Issue Experimental Legislation in Times of Crisis, Sofia Ranchordás & Bart van Klink (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, December 2021
Keywords experimental regulations, regulatory sandboxes, methodology, regulatory quality
Authors Sofia Ranchordás
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the key methodological shortcomings of experimental regulations and regulatory sandboxes. I argue that the poor design and implementation of these experimental legal regimes have both methodological and legal implications. The deficient design of experimental regulations and regulatory sandboxes can have three adverse effects: First, the internal validity of experimental legal regimes is limited because it is unclear whether the verified results are the direct result of the experimental intervention or other circumstances. The limited external validity of experimental legal regimes impedes the generalizability of the experiment. Second, experimental legal regimes that are not scientifically sound make a limited contribution to the advancement of evidence-based lawmaking and the rationalization of regulation. Third, methodological deficiencies may result in the violation of legal principles which require that experimental regulations follow objective, transparent, and predictable standards. I contribute to existing comparative public law and law and methods literature with an interdisciplinary framework which can help improve the design of experimental regulations and regulatory sandboxes. I draw on social science literature on the methods of field experiments to offer novel methodological insights for a more transparent and objective design of experimental regulations and regulatory sandboxes.


Sofia Ranchordás
Sofia Ranchordás is Full Professor of EU and Comparative Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands & Associate Professor of Public Law, Innovation, and Sustainability at the Faculty of Law, LUISS Guido Carli, Italy.
Artikel

Access_open GMO Regulation in Crisis – The Experimental Potential of Regulation (EU) 2020/1043 on Covid-19 in Addressing Both a Crisis and a ­Pandemic

Special Issue Experimental Legislation in Times of Crisis Sofia Ranchordás & Bart van Klink (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, September 2021
Keywords experimental legislation, regulatory knowledge, GMO regulation, evaluation
Authors Lonneke Poort and Willem-Jan Kortleven
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we analyse Regulation (EU) 2020/1043 on Covid-19 against the backdrop of the current deadlock in EU-regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We build on temporary and experimental legislation scholarship and employ a normative framework of regulatory knowledge. The Covid-19 Regulation aims at speeding up the development of GMO-based Covid-19 treatments or vaccines by temporarily suspending requirements that otherwise would have made for time-consuming and burdensome authorization processes. Although the Regulation lacks an explicit experimental purpose, we hypothesize that experiences with its functioning may be utilized in evaluation processes serving attempts to change the GMO legal framework. As such, it may fulfil a latent experimental function. We reflect on the types of knowledge that are relevant when evaluating experimental legislation and developing regulation more generally and argue that the inclusion of social knowledge is pertinent in dealing with complex issues such as GMO regulation. Experimental law literature focuses on gathering evidence-based knowledge about the functioning of legislation but virtually neglects knowledge about different experiences and value appreciations of various societal actors and social-contextual mechanisms. We propose that such social knowledge be included in the design of experimental legislation and that evaluation be approached bottom-up instead of top-down.


Lonneke Poort
Lonneke Poort is Associate Professor at the department of Sociology, Theory and Methodology of Law at Erasmus School of Law.

Willem-Jan Kortleven
Willem-Jan Kortleven is Assistant Professor at the department of Sociology, Theory and Methodology of Law at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Artikel

Access_open Thought Experiments in Law

Special Issue on Experimental Legislation in Times of Crisis, Sofia Ranchordas & Bart van Klink (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, May 2021
Keywords legal empirical studies, legal methodology, philosophy of law, thought experiments
Authors Gabriel Doménech-Pascual
AbstractAuthor's information

    Thought experiments have been widely used in virtually all sciences and humanities. Law is no exception. We can find countless instances of such experiments in both the legal practice and the legal theory. However, this method has hardly been studied by legal scholars, which contrasts with the vast literature devoted to it in other fields of knowledge. This article analyses the role that some thought experiments – those where an imaginary legal change is made, and its social effects are observed – may play in law. In particular, we show why these empirical legal thought experiments might be useful for the practice and theory of law, the main principles for conducting them and how the law deals with them.


Gabriel Doménech-Pascual
Dr. Gabriel Doménech-Pascual, PhD is full professor of Administrative Law at the University of Valencia, Spain. I thank Bart van Klink, Sofia Ranchordas, Alba Soriano, María José Añón, Pablo de Lora, Diego Papayannis, Arturo Muñoz, Violeta Ruiz, Pedro Herrera, Viviana Ponce de León, Maximiliano Marzetti, and two anonymous referees for their useful and thoughtful comments. All remaining errors are mine.
Artikel

Access_open Legal Philosophy as an Enrichment of Doctrinal Research Part I: Introducing Three Philosophical Methods

Journal Law and Method, January 2020
Keywords interdisciplinary research, reflective equilibrium, argumentation, philosophical analysis
Authors Sanne Taekema and Wibren van der Burg
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we discuss a particular form of interdisciplinary legal research. We focus on a discipline that may be fruitfully combined with doctrinal research, namely philosophy. The aim of this article is to give an account of the methods of philosophy that are most relevant and useful for doctrinal legal scholars. Our focus is therefore mostly on legal philosophy and the philosophical subdisciplines closely related to it, such as political philosophy and ethics. We characterize legal philosophy in three complementary ways: as an activity, as insights, and as theories. We then discuss three methods of legal philosophy: argumentation analysis and construction, author analysis and reflective equilibrium. In the practice of research these three methods are usually combined, as we will show with various examples.


Sanne Taekema
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Wibren van der Burg
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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.

    It is often claimed in the media and in political and academic debates that more law nurtures more research, which in turn should generate more information. However, the question researchers are left with is: What does this mean for comparative law and its methods? This paper takes the context of European consumer sales law as an example of the web of rules applicable at both European and national level. In this context, the main idea behind this article is that looking at law and research as data to be built upon and used in further analysis can revolutionise the way in which legal research is understood. This is because current research methods in European consumer sales law fall short of systematically analysing the essential weaknesses of the current regulation system. In this contribution, I argue that the volume of regulation in European consumer law is large enough for it to be considered Big Data and analysed in a way that can harness its potential in this respect. I exemplify this claim with a case-study consisting in the setting up of a Convergence Index that maps the converging effect of harmonizing policies adopted by the European legislator in the field of


Catalina Goanta
Assistant Professor of Private Law, Maastricht Law School, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

    The article discusses the contribution of comparative law to the study of federalism and decentralisation. In doing so, it stresses the relevance of the notion of federalising process, as elaborated by Carl J. Friedrich.


Giacomo Delledonne
Postdoctoral fellow in Constitutional Law, Scuola superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. Email: giacomo. delledonne@gmail.com. Huge thanks go to Sofia Ranchordás and Irene Broekhuijse. I would also like to thank Paolo Carrozza, Paolo Addis, Ilaria Rivera and the anonymous reviewers for their precious suggestions and comments.

    This article examines the main assumptions and theoretical underpinnings of case study method in legal studies. It considers the importance of research design, including the crucial roles of the academic literature review, the research question and the use of rival theories to develop hypotheses and the practice of identifying the observable implications of those hypotheses. It considers the selection of data sources and modes of analysis to allow for valid analytical inferences to be drawn in respect of them. In doing so it considers, in brief, the importance of case study selection and variations such as single or multi case approaches. Finally it provides thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses associated with undertaking socio-legal and comparative legal research via a case study method, addressing frequent stumbling blocks encountered by legal researchers, as well as ways to militate them. It is written with those new to the method in mind.


Lisa Webley

    In this paper, an attempt is made to work out a methodology for comparative legal research, which goes beyond the ‘functional method’ or methodological scepticism.
    The starting point is the idea that we need a ‘toolbox’, not a fixed methodological road map, and that a lot of published, but largely unnoticed, research outside rule and case oriented comparative law offers varying approaches, which could usefully be applied in comparative research. Six methods have been identified: the functional method, the structural one, the analytical one, the law-in-context method, the historical method, and the common core method. Basically, it is the aim of the research and the research question that will determine which methods could be useful. Moreover, different methods may be combined, as they are complementary and not mutually exclusive.This paper focuses on scholarly comparative legal research, not on the use of foreign law by legislators or courts, but, of course, the methodological questions and answers will largely overlap.


Mark Van Hoecke
Professor of Comparative Law at Queen Mary University of London, and Professor of Legal Theory and Comparative Law at Ghent University
Artikel

Access_open What Epistemology Would Serve Criminal Law Best in Finding the Truth about Rape?

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords epistemology (‘scientific’ versus ‘critical’), rape in criminal law, normative classification, empirical evidence
Authors Nicolle Zeegers
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article answers the question of why and in what respects a ‘critical epistemology’, compared to a ‘scientific epistemology’, offers the better alternative for criminal law investigations into rape. By resuming the recent debate concerning the importance of scientific truth in criminal law investigations the author shows that this debate overlooks the cultural values that are necessarily involved in many criminal law cases. Such involvement of cultural values will be illustrated with a historical overview of law cases concerning rape in the context of a heterosexual relationship. Whereas value-free knowledge is the ideal strived for by a ‘scientific epistemology’, the basic idea of a critical epistemology is that knowledge is theory dependent and not free of values. Therefore this epistemology offers the best guarantees for acknowledging the values that are necessarily involved in many criminal law inquiries.


Nicolle Zeegers
Dr. Nicolle Zeegers is universitair docent Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
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