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Artikel

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Auteurs Maurits Helmich
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Few legal theorists today would argue that the domain of law exists in isolation from other normative spheres governing society, notably from the domain of ‘politics’. Nevertheless, the implicit norm that judges should not act ‘politically’ remains influential and widespread in the debates surrounding controversial court cases. This article aims to square these two observations. Taking the Miller v. Secretary of State and Urgenda cases as illustrative case studies, the article demonstrates that what it means for judges to adjudicate cases ‘apolitically’ is itself a matter of controversy. In reflecting on their own constitutional role, courts are forced to take a stance on substantive questions of political philosophy. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the ‘norm of judicial apoliticality’ should therefore be rejected. The norm’s coherence lies in its intersocial function: its role in declaring certain modes of judicial interpretation and intervention legitimate (‘legal’/‘judicial’) or illegitimate (‘political’).


Maurits Helmich
Maurits Helmich is promovendus aan de afdeling Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie van het Recht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Artikel

Access_open Recht en politiek in de klimaatzaken

Een sleutelrol voor het internationaal recht in de argumentatie van de nationale rechter

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 1 2020
Auteurs Vincent Dupont
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Ever since it was published in 2015, the judgment of the The Hague court in the so-called Urgenda-case, and the subsequent decisions of the appellate and cassation courts confirming it, have been met with repeated and vivid critiques. By recognizing the necessity of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and furthermore imposing a certain reduction level on the Dutch state, the judgments in the cases at hand gave rise to many questions concerning the position of the judiciary in the matter, and in Dutch society as a whole. This article attempts in the first place to situate the positions of the different actors intervening in the Urgenda-case within a legal-theoretical framework. The contribution subsequently explores the strategic possibilities that an alternative understanding of law could offer to the judges, focusing specifically on the use of legal instruments stemming from international law, brought into the reasoning of the national judge.


Vincent Dupont
Vincent Dupont studeerde in 2017 af als Master of Laws aan de KU Leuven en volgt momenteel een opleiding sociologie aan de Université libre de Bruxelles, Unicamp in São Paulo en de École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Parijs.
Artikel

Access_open Het normatieve karakter van de rechtswetenschap: recht als oordeel

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2009
Trefwoorden legal theory, science, methodology, normativity, knowledge
Auteurs Prof. mr. Carel Smith
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Propositions of law are based upon normative judgement. The interpretation and application of legal provisions rest upon a judgement that determines which weight must be attributed to some point of view or perspective. In this respect, legal theory has a normative character. Its normative character does not preclude legal theory from being a scientific discipline. The scientific character of legal theory is not located in the possibility of testing the correctness of its theories. Rather, legal theory owes it scientific character to the shared standards of production and evaluation of legal arguments: the grammar of justice.


Prof. mr. Carel Smith
Carel Smith is associate professor at the Department of Metajuridica, Faculty of Law, Leiden University.
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