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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 The Development of Moral Reasoning in the Law Curriculum - An Exploration of Various Teaching Activities

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

Journal Law and Method, March 2022
Keywords moral reasoning, legal education, scholarship of teaching and learning, defining issues test
Authors Emanuel van Dongen and Steven Raaijmakers
AbstractAuthor's information

    Developing the capacity for moral judgment is an essential professional competence for lawyers. What teaching and learning activities in the law curriculum can be used in order to contribute to students’ moral reasoning and moral judgment? Four teaching methods were tried out in the period 2019 to 2021 at the Utrecht University School of Law: teaching methods that either work with (hypothetical) dilemmas (I); in-class reflection papers (II); experiential learning based on own experiences in a simulation situation (III); or clinical teaching in a real law firm (IV). The effects of these methods on the development of moral reasoning were measured using the Defining Issues Test (DIT). Additional information on the effectiveness and utility of the method was gathered using semi-structured interviews with teachers. The DIT results were compared at the beginning and at the end of the courses and related to the teaching methods. This article presents the outcomes of this study and formulates some recommendations for further research on the topic.


Emanuel van Dongen
Dr. Emanuel van Dongen is Associated 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.

Steven Raaijmakers
Dr. Steven Raaijmakers is an educational consultant with Educational Consultancy & Professional Development, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University.
Artikel

Access_open Legal Philosophy as an Enrichment of Doctrinal Research – Part II: The Purposes of Including Legal Philosophy

Journal Law and Method, January 2022
Keywords legal philosophy, research methods, interdisciplinary research, conceptual analysis
Authors Sanne Taekema and Wibren van der Burg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many doctrinal legal research questions require making use of other academic disciplines or perspectives. This article explains the relevance of legal philosophy for doctrinal research projects. Often legal research questions have conceptual or evaluative dimensions that presuppose philosophical understanding. For research on the concept of democracy, the function of constitutional rights, or the possible introduction of a referendum in the Netherlands, questions of a philosophical nature need to be answered. Legal philosophy can supplement and enrich doctrinal research in various ways. In this article, we present seven purposes that legal philosophy may serve in the context of a doctrinal research project: conceptual clarification, exposition and reconstruction of fundamental normative principles and values, theory building, providing creative perspectives, structural critiques, evaluation, and recommendations. For each objective, we illustrate how to use relevant philosophical methods. Thus, this article complements our earlier publication ‘Legal Philosophy as an Enrichment of Doctrinal Research – Part I: Introducing Three Philosophical Methods’.1x http://www.lawandmethod.nl/tijdschrift/lawandmethod/2020/01/lawandmethod-D-19-00006.

Noten

  • * This text has been presented to classes at the University of Zagreb, Queen Mary University of London and Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam; we profited from the feedback of our students. We also want to thank Irma Bluijs, Machteld Geuskens, Tamar de Waal and the reviewers for their helpful comments on previous versions of this article, and Jacqueline Brand and Robert Poll for providing research assistance.
  • 1 http://www.lawandmethod.nl/tijdschrift/lawandmethod/2020/01/lawandmethod-D-19-00006.


Sanne Taekema
Prof. mr. dr. Sanne Taekema is Professor of Jurisprudence, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.

Wibren van der Burg
Prof. dr. mr. Wibren van der Burg, is Professor of Legal Philosophy, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
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 Time and Law in the Post-COVID-19 Era: The Usefulness of Experimental Law

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

Journal Law and Method, September 2021
Keywords COVID-19, time and law, law-making, parliament, government, legal certainty
Authors Erik Longo
AbstractAuthor's information

    The COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in 2020 impelling us to reconsider the basic principles of constitutional law like the separation of power, the rule of law, human rights protection, etc. The two most pressing legal issues that have attracted the attention of legal scholars so far are, on the one hand, the different regulatory policies implemented by governments and, on the other, the balance among the branches of government in deciding matters of the emergency. The pandemic has determined a further and violent acceleration of the legislature’s temporal dimension and the acknowledgement that, to make legislation quicker, parliament must permanently displace its legislative power in favour of government. Measures adopted to tackle the outbreak and recover from the interruption of economic and industrial businesses powerfully confirm that today our societies are more dependent on the executives than on parliaments and, from a temporal perspective, that the language of the law is substantially the present instead of the future. Against this background, this article discusses how the prevalence of governments’ legislative power leads to the use of temporary and experimental legislation in a time, like the pandemic, when the issue of ‘surviving’ becomes dominant.


Erik Longo
Prof. Dr. Erik Longo is associate professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Florence.
Artikel

Access_open Law Schools and Ethics of Democracy

Special Issue on Pragmatism and Legal Education Sanne Taekema & Thomas Riesthuis (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, August 2021
Keywords legal education, democracy, pragmatism
Authors Michal Stambulski
AbstractAuthor's information

    Contemporary critical analyses of legal education indicate that legal education is undemocratic as it is based on a discipline that produces subjects who obey hierarchies, are free from the habit of criticism and are ready to self-sacrifice for promotion in the social hierarchy. At the same time, critical analyses offer the very passive vision of the law student as merely ‘being processed’ through the educational grinder. Paradoxically, in doing so they confirm the vision they criticize. This article argues that, by adopting a pragmatic philosophical perspective, it is possible to go beyond this one-sided picture. Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in ‘practical’ attitudes in legal education. Socrates’ model of didactics, clinical education and moot courts are giving rise to institutionalized ideas as structural elements of legal education, owing to which a purely disciplinary pedagogy may be superseded. All these practices allow students to accept and confront the viewpoints of others. Education completed in harmony with these ideas promotes an active, critical member of community, who is ready to advance justified moral judgements, and as such is compliant with pragmatic ethics of democracy.


Michal Stambulski
Dr. Michal Stambulski is postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and assistant professor at the University of Zielona Gora.
Artikel

Access_open Onderwijs juridische beroepsethiek aan rechtenstudenten

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

Journal Law and Method, July 2021
Keywords professional ethics, legal ethics, research ethics, moral psychology
Authors Anne Ruth Mackor
AbstractAuthor's information

    In dit artikel geeft de auteur haar visie op het onderwijs in beroepsethiek aan rechtenstudenten. Ze bespreekt de inhoud van de juridische beroepsethiek en enkele didactische aspecten. De auteur maakt onderscheid tussen rechtvaardigende perspectieven, die een explicatie en rechtvaardiging van een onderscheidende juridische beroepsethiek en -moraal mogelijk maken, en kritische perspectieven, die een kritische beoordeling van die rechtvaardigende verhalen mogelijk maken. Ze benadrukt daarbij het belang van empirische, in het bijzonder sociaal- en moraalpsychologische benaderingen in het onderwijs van beroepsethiek. Ze wijst op het feit dat studenten niet beschikken over relevante praktijkervaring en dat dit een obstakel vormt voor diepgaande casusanalyses. In de conclusie betoogt de auteur dat de belangstelling en de ruimte voor het onderwijs in beroepsethiek aan rechtenstudenten sinds het nieuwe millennium wel is toegenomen, maar dat meer systematische reflectie op deze vakken nodig is. Ook stelt ze dat bij het onderwijs in beroepsethiek aan rechtenstudenten die nog geen werkervaring hebben in een specifieke beroepspraktijk, de nadruk zou moeten liggen op thema’s die in de beroepsopleiding minder aandacht krijgen. Het accent moet meer liggen op het verwerven van ethische en empirische theoretische kennis en kritische reflectie op rechtvaardigende verhalen, en minder op discussie over concrete gevallen. Haar laatste aanbeveling is dat in het onderwijs niet alleen normatief-ethische theorieën aan de orde moeten komen, maar ook empirische inzichten over bounded ethicality.


Anne Ruth Mackor
Prof. mr. dr. Anne Ruth Mackor is als hoogleraar professie ethiek, in het bijzonder van juridische professies, verbonden aan de Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
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 Professioneel ethiekonderwijs voor de ­aankomend overheidsjurist

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

Journal Law and Method, April 2021
Keywords beroepsethiek, overheidsjuristen, onderwijs
Authors Peter van Lochem
AbstractAuthor's information

    De beroepsethiek van overheidsjuristen wordt traditioneel gericht op het functioneren als poortwachter van de rechtsstaat. Zij ontlenen hun beroepsethisch normenkader aan bovenliggende normen van democratie en rechtsstaat. Beroepsdilemma’s komen daarbij voort uit zich voordoende spanning tussen ambtelijke en juridische verantwoordelijkheden, bijvoorbeeld die tussen loyaliteit aan de politieke leiding versus het bevorderen van proportionaliteit van bevoegdheden (case Tijdelijke wet maatregelen covid-19) en die van handhaving (case kinderopvangtoeslagen). In de praktijk van de overheidsjurist is de beroepsethiek het resultaat van het omgaan met genoemde dilemma’s. Deze contextuele beroepsethiek van onderop wijkt af van de aan de rechtstaat ontleende beroepsethiek van bovenaf. Er zijn de nodige argumenten om het professionele (universitaire) ethiekonderwijs voor aankomend overheidsjuristen te richten op een normatieve oriëntatie van onderop. Het bevordert realisme, waakzaamheid voor tegenkrachten en rolvastheid. In het ethiekonderwijs voor aankomend overheidsjuristen zou dan een empirische en op verantwoording gerichte attitude centraal moeten staan.


Peter van Lochem
Mr. dr. P.J.P.M. (Peter) van Lochem is Fellow van het Meijers Instituut (Universiteit Leiden).
Artikel

Access_open Teaching Comparative Law, Pragmatically (Not Practically)

Special Issue on Pragmatism and Legal Education, Sanne Taekema & Thomas Riesthuis (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, October 2020
Keywords comparative legal studies, legal education, pragmatism
Authors Alexandra Mercescu
Author's information

Alexandra Mercescu
Alexandra Mercescu, Ph.D is lecturer at the Department of Public Law, University of Timisoara, Romania.
Artikel

Access_open Using Case Studies for Research on Judicial Opinions. Some Preliminary Insights

Journal Law and Method, November 2019
Keywords case study, judicial opinions, empirical legal research, qualitative methods, research on judicial opinions
Authors Mateusz Stępień
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a pressing need to develop a research methodology for studying judicial opinions that goes beyond both dogmatic analyzes and the established positions developed within philosophy of law and legal theory (e.g. the hermeneutic and argumentative approaches). One possible way is to adopt or modify methodologies developed within empirically oriented social sciences. Most social science textbooks devoted to methodology of empirical research deal with case studies. So far, this research framework developed within the social sciences has not been applied directly to judicial opinions, though they have been used for some empirical legal research studies. Even et first sight, case study research would appear to have potential for use with judicial opinions. The aim of the paper is to answer the question, how and to what extent can case study methodology developed within the social sciences be fruitfully used to examine judicial opinions? The general answer is undoubtedly positive (case studies can bring new, non-trivial threads to the research methodology on judicial opinions), though with many serious and far-reaching reservations.


Mateusz Stępień
Assistant Professor, Department of Law and Administration, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland.
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.

    In legal education, criticism is conceived as an academic activity. As lecturers, we expect from students more than just the expression of their opinion; they have to evaluate and criticize a certain practice, building on a sound argumentation and provide suggestions on how to improve this practice. Criticism not only entails a negative judgment but is also constructive since it aims at changing the current state of affairs that it rejects (for some reason or other). In this article, we want to show how we train critical writing in the legal skills course for first-year law students (Juridische vaardigheden) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We start with a general characterization of the skill of critical writing on the basis of four questions: 1. Why should we train critical writing? 2. What does criticism mean in a legal context? 3. How to carry out legal criticism? and 4. How to derive recommendations from the criticism raised? Subsequently, we discuss, as an illustration to the last two questions, the Dutch Urgenda case, which gave rise to a lively debate in the Netherlands on the role of the judge. Finally, we show how we have applied our general understanding of critical writing to our legal skills course. We describe the didactic approach followed and our experiences with it.


Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is Professor of Legal Methodology, Department of Legal Theory and History, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Lyana Francot
Lyana Francot is Associate Professor of Legal Theory, Department of Legal Theory and History, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Jurisprudence is a domain related to terms such as rules, morality, principles, equality, justice, etc. Legal scholars have to teach the meaning of these terms. However, these are not terms, one can comprehend by just reading their standard definition. These are terms one must digest and learn to use. My argument is that literature or the law and literature movement can be used as a tool in order to explain and discuss these terms. For instance, beyond simply explaining or teaching legal positivism and natural law, Antigone helps students reflect upon the distinction between them. To cite another example, reading Nana can help students think about sex-workers in a way they would never think before. Moreover, the literature can be a useful means in teaching critical movements in law, such as critical legal studies, feminist legal theory and critical race theory. Finally, the terms I stated at the beginning are not only terms of jurisprudence, they are terms we should use properly in order to construct a healthy legal environment. Therefore, to get students comprehend these terms is a crucially important aim. I argue that literature can be a tool in order to achieve this aim.


E. Irem Aki
Dr. E.I. Aki was a research assistant at Ankara University Faculty of Law until 2017; iremaki@gmail.com.
Artikel

Access_open Educating the Legal Imagination. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education

Journal Law and Method, October 2018
Keywords imagination, artefact, active learners, metaphors
Authors Maksymilian Del Mar
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper presents a basic model of the imagination and offers pedagogical resources and activities for educating three related abilities to imagine. The basic model is that to imagine is to combine the process of awareness, framing and distancing, and the process of, simultaneously actively participate, by doing things with and thanks to artefacts. Artefacts, in turn, are fabricated forms (here, forms of language) that signal their own artifice and invite us to do things with them, across a spectrum of sensory, kinetic, and affective abilities. Modelled in this way, imagination plays a crucial role in legal reasoning, and is exemplified by the following kinds of artefacts in legal discourse: fictions, metaphors, hypothetical scenarios and figuration. These artefacts and their related processes of imagination are vital to legal reasoning at many levels, including the level of the individual lawyer or judge, the level of interaction in courtrooms, and the level of legal language over time. The paper offers nine learning activities corresponding to educating three abilities in the legal context: 1) to take epistemic distance and participate; 2) to generate alternatives and possibilities; and 3) to construct mental imagery.


Maksymilian Del Mar
Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London.

    This paper starts by reviewing empirical research that threatens law and economics’ initial success. This research has demonstrated that the functioning of the law cannot be well understood based on the assumption of the rational actor and that policies which are based on this assumption are likely to be flawed. Subsequently, three responses to this criticism are discussed. Whereas the first response denounces this criticism by maintaining that the limitations attributed to the rational actor can easily be incorporated in rational choice theory, the second response welcomes the criticism as an opportunity to come up with an integrative theory of law and behavior. The third response also takes the criticism seriously but replaces the aspiration to come up with such an integrative theory by a context-sensitive approach. It will be argued that the first two responses fall short while the third response offers a promising way to go forward.


Peter Mascini
Prof. dr. P. Mascini, Erasmus School of Law and Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

    This paper discusses three approaches that can be helpful in the area of comparative rights jurisprudence, oriented in reference to three different kinds of studies that are possible in that area. To a large extent the methods for a comparative legal research depend on the research question and the goal of the researcher. First, a comparative law study may focus on the sociocultural context that led to the elaboration of differences or similarities in the protection of rights. Second, a comparative law approach can be a normative enterprise. It can focus on engaging in a philosophical analysis enlightened by the differences or similarities in the regulation of rights, in order to propose concrete solutions for the regulation of a right. Third, a comparative law approach can combine both elements of the two previously mentioned approaches. The paper discusses the challenges that the researcher faces in her attempt to use these methodologies and how these challenges can be overcome. The law as a normative discipline has its own constraints of justifiability. If what motivates a comparative law study is the search for principles of justice the researcher needs to persuade that her methodological approach serves her aim.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
School of Law, NUI Galway, Ireland.

    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.

    In the last few decades, we have witnessed the renaissance of Comparative Constitutional law as field of research. Despite such a flourishing, the methodological foundations and the ultimate ratio of Constitutional comparative law are still debated among scholars. This article starts from the definition of comparative constitutional law given by one of the most prominent comparative constitutional law scholars in Italy, prof. Bognetti, who defined comparative constitutional law as the main joining ring between the historical knowledge of the modern law and the history of the humankind in general and of its various civil realizations. Comparative constitutional law is in other words a kind of mirror of the “competing vision of who we are and who we wish to be as a political community” (Hirschl), reflecting the structural tension between universalism and particularism, globalization and tradition.
    The article aims at addressing the main contemporary methodological challenges faced by the studies of the field. The article argues that contemporary comparative constitutional studies should address these challenges integrating the classical “horizontal” comparative method with a vertical one - regarding the international and supranational influences on constitutional settings - and fostering an interdisciplinary approach, taking into account the perspective of the social sciences.


Antonia Baraggia
Emile Noël Fellow, Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice, NYU School of Law and Post-doc Fellow in Constitutional Law, University of Milan. For helpful comments on an earlier draft I am grateful to Luca Pietro Vanoni, Sofia Ranchordas and two anonymous reviewers.
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