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Article

Access_open Legal Subjects and Juridical Persons: Developing Public Legal Theory through Fuller and Arendt

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2014
Keywords Fuller, Arendt, legal subject, juridical person, public rule of law theory
Authors Kristen Rundle
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘public’ character of the kind of rule of law theorizing with which Lon Fuller was engaged is signalled especially in his attention to the very notion of being a ’legal subject’ at all. This point is central to the aim of this paper to explore the animating commitments, of substance and method alike, of a particular direction of legal theorizing: one which commences its inquiry from an assessment of conditions of personhood within a public legal frame. Opening up this inquiry to resources beyond Fuller, the paper makes a novel move in its consideration of how the political theorist Hannah Arendt’s reflections on the ‘juridical person’ might aid a legal theoretical enterprise of this kind.


Kristen Rundle
Kristen Rundle is Senior Lecturer of Law at the University of New South Wales; k.rundle@unsw.edu.au
Article

Access_open The Collapse of the Rule of Law

The Messina Earthquake and the State of Exception

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2012
Keywords Messina, earthquake, state of exception, rule of law, progress
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Messina, a Sicilian town, was devasteted by an earthquake in1908. It was an hecatomb. Stricken through this unfathomable disgrace Messina’s institutions and civil society collapsed and a sort of wild natural state replaced the rule of law. In this situation there was a first intervention of the Russian Czarist navy who came to help but immediately enforced cruel emergency measures. The Italian army followed and there was a formal declaration of an ‘emergency situation.’ Around this event and the several exceptional measures taken by the government a debate took place about the legality of those exceptional measures. The article tries to reconstruct the historical context and the content of that debate and in a broader perspective thematizes how law (and morality) could be brought to meet the breaking of normality and ordinary life by an unexpected and catastrophic event.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Catanzaro in Italy and visiting Professor of Law at the University of Hull in England.

Lyana Francot-Timmermans
Lyana Francot-Timmermans is Assistant Professor in Legal Theory at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Emilios Christodoulidis
Emilios Christodoulidis is Professor of Legal Theory at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy: An Iterative Relationship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    The complexity of the relationship between democracy and modern constitutionalism is revealed by treating democracy as an incomplete ideal. This refers both to the empirical incompleteness of democracy as unable to supply its own terms of application – the internal dimension – and to the normative incompleteness of democracy as guide to good government – the external dimension. Constitutionalism is a necessary response to democratic incompleteness – seeking to realize (the internal dimension) and to supplement and qualify democracy (the external dimension). How democratic incompleteness manifests itself, and how constitutionalism responds to incompleteness evolves and alters, revealing the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy as iterative. The paper concentrates on the iteration emerging from the current globalizing wave. The fact that states are no longer the exclusive sites of democratic authority compounds democratic incompleteness and complicates how constitutionalism responds. Nevertheless, the key role of constitutionalism in addressing the double incompleteness of democracy persists under globalization. This continuity reflects how the deep moral order of political modernity, in particular the emphasis on individualism, equality, collective agency and progress, remains constant while its institutional architecture, including the forms of its commitment to democracy, evolves. Constitutionalism, itself both a basic orientation and a set of design principles for that architecture, remains a necessary support for and supplement to democracy. Yet post-national constitutionalism, even more than its state-centred predecessor, remains contingent upon non-democratic considerations, so reinforcing constitutionalism’s normative and sociological vulnerability. This conclusion challenges two opposing understandings of the constitutionalism of the global age – that which indicts global constitutionalism because of its weakened democratic credentials and that which assumes that these weakened democratic credentials pose no problem for post-national constitutionalism, which may instead thrive through a heightened emphasis on non-democratic values.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Discussion

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy

A Reply to Four Critics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    This reply to critics reinforces and further develops a number of conclusions of the original paper. First, it answers the charge that it is biased in its discussion of the relative standing of constitutionalism and democracy today, tending to take the authority of the former for granted and concentrating its critical attention unduly on the incompleteness of democracy, by arguing that contemporary constitutionalism is deeply dependent upon democracy. Secondly, it reiterates and extends the claim of the original paper that the idea and practice of democracy is unable to supply its own resources in the development of just forms of political organization. Thirdly, it defends its key understanding of the overall relationship between democracy and constitutionalism as a ‘double relationship’, involving both mutual support and mutual tension. A fourth and last point is concerned to demonstrate how the deeper philosophical concerns raised by the author about the shifting relationship between democracy and constitutionalism and the conceptual reframing they prompt are important not just as an explanatory and evaluative window on an evolving configuration of political relations but also as an expression of that evolution, and to indicate how this new conceptual frame might condition how we approach the question of a democracy-sensitive institutional architecture for the global age.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
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