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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 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 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.

    Legal doctrinal scholarship engages with the problems of legal practice: it systematizes, comments on, evaluates and debates what goes on in law. These activities do not occur in a vacuum: they are embedded in scholarly traditions and theories. This paper discusses the role of the theoretical frameworks used in legal research and has two related aims. First, it aims to provide some practical conceptualizations and guidelines regarding theoretical and normative frameworks that are useful to understand and conduct legal research. Second, it aims to investigate the relationships between different kinds of normative frameworks and their relationship to empirical work. In the second part, an argument is made for a pragmatist understanding of the interplay between normative theorizing and empirical study. How do these work together in judgments about the state of the law?


Sanne Taekema
Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam; taekema@law.eur.nl.

    The purpose of this article is to investigate whether the notion of an interest should be taken more seriously than the notion of a right. It will be argued that it should; and not only because it can be just as amenable to the institutional taxonomical structure often said to be at the basis of rights thinking in law but also because the notion of an interest has a more epistemologically convincing explanatory power with respect to reasoning in law and its relation to social facts. The article equally aims to highlight some of the important existing work on the notion of an interest in law.


Geoffrey Samuel
Professor of Law, Kent Law School, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, U.K. This article is a much re-orientated, and updated, adaption of a paper published a decade ago: Samuel 2004, at 263. The author would like to thank the anonymous referees for their very helpful criticisms and observations on an earlier version of the manuscript.

    This paper raises two methodological questions from a philosophical perspective: (i) what is involved in a functionalist approach to law and (ii) what should be the focus of such an approach? To answer these questions, I will take two steps with both. To begin with, I argue that Pettit’s view on functionalist approaches may be made relevant for law; functionalist accounts target a virtual mechanism that explains why a system will be resilient under changes in either the system or its environment. Secondly, I make a distinction between two interpretations of his key-concept ‘resilience’, one in mechanical, the other in teleological terms. With regard to the second question I will take two steps as well. I argue why it does not make sense to ascribe wide functions to law, followed by a plea for a limited view on the function of law. This limited view is based on a teleological understanding of the law’s resilience. I argue that these two modes are interrelated in ways that are relevant for the interdisciplinary study of law.


Bert van Roermund

Sanne Taekema

    This article addresses the problem of qualitative interviewing in the field of legal studies, and more precisely the practice of interviewing judges. In the last five years the authors of this article conducted two different research projects which involved interviewing judges as a research method. In this article the authors share their experience and views on the qualitative interviewing method, and provide the reader with an overview of the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ attached to this tool, but also its advantages and disadvantages.


Urszula Jaremba
Urszula Jaremba is an Assistant Professor of EU Law at Erasmus School of Law (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

Elaine Dr. Mak
Elaine Mak is Endowed Professor of Empirical Study of Public Law, in particular of Rule-of-Law Institutions, at Erasmus School of Law (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Artikel

Access_open Legal Dogmatics and Academic Education

Journal Law and Method, 2013
Keywords legal dogmatics, theory design, academic education, empirical cycle
Authors Jan Struiksma
AbstractAuthor's information

    Previously a model was developed whereby the evolution of dogmatic legal theory design can be made more explicit. This concerns, amongst other aspects, the application of the empirical cycle constructed by De Groot, which forms the final element of an evolution of the application of mundane knowledge to theory design. The starting point of this article is that this evolution must be ‘repeated’ during an academic study in empirical subjects. The objective is to investigate how this is done in the legal dogmatic education.


Jan Struiksma
Jan Struiksma is professor of administrative law at the Faculty of Law, Free University Amsterdam.
Artikel

Access_open Kuhn and Legal Research

A Reflexive Paradigmatic View on Legal Research

Journal Law and Method, 2013
Keywords legal paradigm, scientific revolution, social theory, reflexivity, responsibility, risk society, cosmopolitanism
Authors Ubaldus de Vries
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to describe a paradigmatic view on legal research, based on the thought processes underlining Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in particular as how revolutionary change is coming about through a reflexive attitude towards developments that do not fit in the prevailing assumptions in an existing paradigm or research methodology. It allows for a description of ‘normal legal research’ and the assumptions upon which normal legal research is based. It also allows for an explanation as to how these assumptions are no longer exclusively valid but carry with them limitations in the face of structural developments at the level of society. An important feature of the paradigmatic view, then, is that it is able to take issue with these developments by incorporating social theory in our understanding of law.


Ubaldus 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.

Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of Theory and Methods of Legislation at Tilburg University.
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.

Carel Smith
Mr. Carel Smith is hoofd Onderzoeksopleidingen bij de Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Universiteit Leiden. Hij is tevens redactielid van Recht en Methode.
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