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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 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 Space and Socialization in Legal Education: A Symbolic Interactionism Approach

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

Journal Law and Method, April 2021
Keywords legal education, pragmatism, symbolic interactionism, sociology of space
Authors Karolina Kocemba
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article deals with the possibility of socializing law students through space. It first indicates which features of space affect the possibility of influencing interactions and identity. It then discusses how we can use symbolic interactionism to study interactions and socialization in spaces of law faculties. Then, on the basis of the interviews conducted with law faculty students about their space perception, it shows how to research student socialization through space and how far-reaching its effects can be.


Karolina Kocemba
Karolina Kocemba, MA, is PhD student at the University of Wroclaw; Uniwersytet Wroclawski, Wroclaw, Poland.
Artikel

Access_open Art, Science and the Poetry of Justice – ­Pragmatist Aesthetics and Its Importance for Law and Legal Education

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

Journal Law and Method, March 2021
Keywords legal research, legal education, epistemology, law, science and art
Authors Wouter de Been
AbstractAuthor's information

    Classic pragmatists like John Dewey entertained an encompassing notion of science. This pragmatic belief in the continuities between a scientific, ethical and cultural understanding of the world went into decline in the middle of the 20th century. To many mid-century American and English philosophers it suggested a simplistic faith that philosophy and science could address substantive questions about values, ethics and aesthetics in a rigorous way. This critique of classic pragmatism has lost some of its force in the last few decades with the rise of neo-pragmatism, but it still has a hold over disciplines like economics and law. In this article I argue that this criticism of pragmatism is rooted in a narrow conception of what science entails and what philosophy should encompass. I primarily focus on one facet: John Dewey’s work on art and aesthetics. I explain why grappling with the world aesthetically, according to Dewey, is closely related to dealing with it scientifically, for instance, through the poetic and aesthetic development of metaphors and concepts to come to terms with reality. This makes his theory of art relevant, I argue, not only to studying and understanding law, but also to teaching law.


Wouter de Been
Wouter de Been is a legal theorist who has written widely on pragmatism and legal realism. I would like to thank the reviewers for their comments. Their critical commentary made this a much better article. Any remaining shortcomings are of course my own. I dedicate this article to the memory of Willem Witteveen, who always saw the art in law.
Artikel

Access_open Blended Learning in Legal Education

Using Scalable Learning to Improve Student Learning

Journal Law and Method, May 2020
Keywords legal education, blended learning, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, student learning
Authors Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen and Dr. Femke Kirschner
AbstractAuthor's information

    Education should be aimed at supporting student learning. ICT may support student learning. It also may help students to learn and increase their involvement and thus their efforts. Blended learning has the potential to improve study behaviour of students, thus becoming an indispensable part of their education. It may improve their preparation level, and as a result, face-to-face education will be more efficient and more profound (e.g. by offering more challenging tasks), lifting the learning process to a higher level. Moreover, the interaction between students and teachers may be improved by using ICT. A necessary condition to lift students’ learning to a higher (better: deeper) learning level is that all students acquire basic knowledge before they engage in face-to-face teaching. In a First-Year Course Introduction to Private Law, we recently introduced a Scalable Learning environment. This environment allows the acquiring and testing of factual knowledge at individual pace, in a modern and appealing way (independent of time and place). The link between offline and online education during face-to-face teaching is made by using Learning Analytics, provided by the Scalable Learning environment. After the implementation of Scalable Learning, a survey on its effect on learning has been performed by means of questionnaires. The results were compared at the beginning and at the end of the course, related to the approaches taken by teachers as well as to the exam results. This article presents the outcomes of this study.


Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen
Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen, Department of Law, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University.

Dr. Femke Kirschner
Dr. Femke Kirschner works as Educational Consultant at the Educational Development and Training, Utrecht University.
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.
Artikel

Access_open Teaching Socio-Legal Research Methodology: Participant Observation. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education

Journal Law and Method, January 2019
Keywords Participant observation, sociolegal research, methodology, teaching
Authors Marc A. Simon Thomas
AbstractAuthor's information

    The basics of how to conduct participant observation are not taught in law schools. This is striking because this methodology has become a common feature of qualitative research and could be very useful in sociolegal research. For those interested in studying ‘law in practice’ instead of ‘law in the books’, qualitative research methods like participant observation are inevitable. However, participant observation is, at best, secondary in the literature on qualitative research in the sociolegal discipline, while there is no guidance on how to conduct this technique whatsoever.Therefore, this article is written with two audiences in mind: It should serve as a useful reference and guide for those who teach qualitative research methods in legal education and who are looking to enhance their knowledge and skills concerning participant observation; it is also meant to serve as a basic primer for the beginning sociolegal researcher who is about to become a participating observer for the first time.


Marc A. Simon Thomas
Utrecht University, School of Law, Institute of Jurisprudence, Constitutional and Administrative Law, Legal Theory; m.a.simonthomas@uu.nl.
Artikel

Access_open Linking Legal Scenarios to Empirical Data

Process-Tracing as a Methodology in Law

Journal Law and Method, September 2018
Authors Simone Schroff
AbstractAuthor's information

    Different legal rules can lead to the same observable outcome, making it difficult to identify the most influential rule. This article addresses this gap by focusing on how competing explanatory theories derived from a doctrinal analysis can be assessed using a methodology called process-tracing. One of process-tracing’s main uses is to link explanatory theories to empirical evidence, permitting an assessment of causal mechanisms’ practical impact in comparison to each other. This article demonstrates the potential and practical implementation of process-tracing in the context of empirical legal research. In addition to the core characteristics of process-tracing, the paper clarifies when process-tracing can add to a doctrinal analysis and the requirements which have to be met. Furthermore, the process of linking doctrinal work with empirical evidence relying on process-tracing is shown, using the example of copyright ownership in the broadcasting sector. As a result, this paper demonstrates the added value of a process-tracing analysis carried out in addition to doctrinal work, in particular the insights into industry practice it generates.


Simone Schroff
Ph.D., University of Plymouth, United Kingdom and Institute for Information Law, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    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.

    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.

    Comparative methodology is an important and a widely used method in the legal literature. This method is important inter alia to search for alternative national rules and acquire a deeper understanding of a country’s law. According to a survey of over 500 Dutch legal scholars, 61 per cent conducts comparative research (in some form). However, the methodological application of comparative research generally leaves much to be desired. This is particularly true when it comes to case selection. This applies in particular to conceptual and dogmatic research questions, possibly also allowing causal explanations for differences between countries. This article suggests that the use of an interdisciplinary research design could be helpful, and Hofstede’s cultural-psychological dimensions can offer a solution to improve the methodology of selection criteria.


Dave van Toor
D.A.G. van Toor, PhD LLM BSc works as a researcher and lecturer in Criminal (Procedural) Law and Criminology at the Universität Bielefeld.

Gijs van Dijck

Sanne Taekema

    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

    Sensitive interviews involve emotionally difficult topics which require participants to face issues that are deeply personal and possibly distressing. This paper draws together reflections concerning how researchers manage the challenges of conducting sensitive interviews, including the author’s own reflections concerning interviewing clinical negligence claimants. First, it examines the ethical guidelines that regulate sensitive research, and the challenges of obtaining informed consent and maintaining confidentiality. Ethical guidelines, however, provide limited assistance for ensuring the emotional care of research participants, and we also consider challenges that are not usually formally regulated. These include preparing for the interview, and then ensuring the emotional care of participants both during and after the interview itself. Sensitive research also raises deeper ethical issues concerning the negotiation of relations between researcher and participant, especially when this relationship is unequal. Finally, while previous research has generally focused on the need to take emotional care of research participants, less attention has been given to the emotional needs of researchers. It is argued that support systems for researchers are too often ad hoc, and that providing support is often not a priority of granting bodies, grant holders or supervisors, and that formal systems need to be put in place.


Angela Melville
Flinders Law School, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia. Email: angela.melville@flinders.edu.au.

Darren Hincks
Flinders Law School, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia.

    In this article I argue that the major issue in taxonomies of interdisciplinary research is the problem of authority. In a project on the needs of Aboriginal Australians in inheritance, involving interdisciplinary research using law (in both common law and customary law form) and anthropology, issues of translateability and truth/validity arose. Issues for the Aboriginal people included problems of identifying the correct kin, dealing with the body, and protecting customary law information and secrecy, all matters which the customary law could handle but which were not recognised by Australian common law. Because the characterization of these matters in law is often characterized as a problem of authority the article explores the various different ways forms of authority in law and anthropology exist and how they might clash. Because the anthropology concerned was about Aboriginal Customary Law there seemed to be a double problem of authority which needed to be resolved in order to ensure that the connections between the disciplines were clear and the inheritance issues could be resolved.


Prue Vines
Professor, Director of First Year Studies, Co-Director, Private Law Research & Policy Group Faculty of Law, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Email: p.vines@unsw.edu.au.

    Legal novices are generally not very well educated in the do’s and don’ts of empirical legal research. This article lays out the general principles and discusses the most important stumbling blocks on the way forward. The presentation starts at the formulation of a research question. Next, the methodology of descriptive research (operationalization and measurement, sampling and selection bias) is briefly addressed. The main part of the article discusses the methodology of explanatory research (causal inference, experimental and quasi-experimental research designs, statistical significance, effect size). Medical malpractice law is used as a central source of illustration.


Ben C.J. van Velthoven
Associate professor of Law and Economics at Leiden Law School. I wish to thank Nienke van der Linden, Ali Mohammad and Charlotte Vrendenbargh from Leiden Law School and two anonymous reviewers and the editors of this journal for helpful comments on earlier drafts.
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