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Article

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Authors Maurits Helmich
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.
Article

Access_open Liberal Democracy and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords national identity, historical narratives, universal values, equal citizenship
Authors Tamar de Waal
AbstractAuthor's information

    Increasingly often, it is stated that the universal values underpinning Western liberal democracies are a product of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition. This article explores the legitimacy of this claim from the perspective of liberal-democratic theory. It argues that state-endorsed claims about the historical roots of liberal-democratic values are problematic (1) if they are promoted as though they are above democratic scrutiny and (2) if they insinuate that citizens who belong to a particular (majority) culture remain the ‘cultural owners’ of the core values underpinning the state. More pragmatically, the paper suggests that the claim carries the risk of failing to facilitate all citizens becoming or remaining committed to nurturing fundamental rights and a shared society based on norms of democratic equality.


Tamar de Waal
Tamar de Waal is assistant professor of legal philosophy at the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Philosophy and Law in Ancient Rome

Traces of Stoic Syllogisms and Ontology of Language in Proculus’s Jurisprudence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Stoicism, Roman Law, Theory of Language, Syllogisms, Classical Jurisprudence
Authors Pedro Savaget Nascimento
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper uses Stoic theory of language to gain more insight into Roman lawyer Proculus’s legal opinions on the meaning and understanding of ambiguous testaments, wills and dowries. After summarizing Stoic theory of language, the paper discusses its reception in Roman jurisprudence and situates Proculus in a Stoic legal/philosophical context. The meat of the article lies in the re-examination of Proculus’s legal opinions on ambiguities in light of Stoic theory of language, through: (1) the analysis of a case demonstrating that Proculus’s embeddedness in Stoic doctrine went beyond his technical competence in propositional syllogisms, going into the territory of Stoic physical materialism and, (2) the investigation of four cases that reveal how his approach to problems of ambiguity in unilateral legal acts converges with the Stoic conception of the parallelism between speech and thought.


Pedro Savaget Nascimento
Pedro Savaget Nascimento holds a PhD in Law and Language from the University of Birmingham (UK) and currently works as Research Designer in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).
Article

Access_open Enemy of All Humanity

The Dehumanizing Effects of a Dangerous Concept

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords enemy of all humanity, hostis humani generis, piracy, international criminal law, Luban
Authors Marc de Wilde
AbstractAuthor's information

    In his contribution to this special issue, David Luban proposes to revive the age-old concept of ‘the enemy of all humanity.’ On his view, this concept supports the aims of international criminal justice by emphasizing that atrocity and persecution crimes are ‘radically evil’ and therefore ‘everyone’s business.’ Criticizing Luban’s proposal, this paper shows that in the past, the ‘enemy of all humanity’ concept has often served to establish parallel systems of justice, depriving these ‘enemies’ of their rights as suspects under criminal law and as lawful combatants under the laws of war. Thus, even if the ‘enemy of all humanity’ concept is used with the intention to bring today’s perpetrators of ‘radical evil’ to justice, it risks undermining, rather than protecting, the rule of law.


Marc de Wilde
Marc de Wilde is Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open The Demos as a Plural Subject

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords democracy, demos, normativity, Margaret Gilbert, joint commitment
Authors Bas Leijssenaar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Existing conceptualizations of the demos fail to treat issues of composition and performativity consistently. Recent literature suggests that both aspects are required in a satisfactory account of the demos. An analysis of this literature suggests several desiderata that such an account must meet. I approach the definition of demos with a conceptual framework derived from Margaret Gilbert’s plural subject theory of social groups. I propose an account of demos as a plural subject, constituted by joint commitment. This account offers an improved and consistent understanding of normativity, composition, agency, and cohesion of demos.


Bas Leijssenaar
Bas Leijssenaar is PhD-candidate at the Institute of Philosophy, Centre for Social and Political Philosophy of the University of Leuven.
Article

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge
Article

Access_open The Erosion of Sovereignty

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, state, Léon Duguit, European Union, Eurozone
Authors Martin Loughlin
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents an account of sovereignty as a concept that signifies in jural terms the nature and quality of political relations within the modern state. It argues, first, that sovereignty is a politico-legal concept that expresses the autonomous nature of the state’s political power and its specific mode of operation in the form of law and, secondly, that many political scientists and lawyers present a skewed account by confusing sovereignty with governmental competence. After clarifying its meaning, the significance of contemporary governmental change is explained as one that, in certain respects, involves an erosion of sovereignty.


Martin Loughlin
Martin Loughlin is Professor of Public Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and EURIAS Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS).
Article

Access_open ‘Should the People Decide?’ Referendums in a Post-Sovereign Age, the Scottish and Catalonian Cases

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sub-state nationalism, referendums, sovereignty, deliberative democracy, Scottish referendum
Authors Stephen Tierney
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article uses the rise of referendum democracy to highlight the tenacity of modern nationalism in Western Europe. The proliferation of direct democracy around the world raises important questions about the health of representative democracy. The paper offers a theoretical re-evaluation of the role of the referendum, using the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence to challenge some of the traditional democratic criticisms of popular democracy. The final part of the paper addresses the specific application of referendums in the context of sub-state nationalism, addressing what might be called `the demos question'. This question was addressed by the Supreme Court in Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference but has also been brought to the fore by the Scottish reference and the unresolved issue of self-determination in Catalonia.


Stephen Tierney
Stephen Tierney is Professor of Constitutional Theory at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law.
Article

Access_open Power and Principle in Constitutional Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, constitutional law, positivism, constructivism, common law
Authors Pavlos Eleftheriadis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legal and sociological theories of sovereignty disagree about the role of legal and social matters in grounding state power. This paper defends a constructivist view, according to which the constitution is a judgment of practical reason. The paper argues that a constitution sets out a comprehensive institutional architecture of social life in terms of principles and official roles that are necessary for any legitimate scheme of social cooperation to exist. It follows that legal and sociological theories of sovereignty capture only part of the truth of sovereignty. Legal reasoning engages with political power, but it is not determined by it. There is no causal chain between power and validity, as suggested by the legal positivists. The relation between power and law is interpretive, not causal. It follows that the circularity of law and the constitution, namely the fact that the law makes the constitution and the constitution makes the law, is not a vicious circle. It is part of an ordinary process of deliberation.


Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Pavlos Eleftheriadis is Associate Professor of Law and Fellow in Law at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.

    This paper provides a dialectical-historical description of the EU's constitutional discourse. It is argued that the early Community's member state blind principle of justice implied the notion of a European political community and led to the establishment of fair procedures for decision making. This coming of age of an encompassing European constitutional narrative of justice and fairness prompted the question of the demarcation between the political role of the European political community and that of member states' political communities. The answer proved to be subsidiarity. However, subsidiarity has introduced national conceptions of justice in the Union's constitutional discourse, at the risk of making European justice dependent on national conceptions of justice.


Dries Cools
Dries Cools works at the National Bank of Belgium and holds a Master of Laws and a Master in Philosophy of the KU Leuven and an LL.M. of Harvard Law School.
Article

Access_open Freedom of Religion, Inc.: Whose Sovereignty?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords accommodation, freedom of religion, political theology, liberalism, liberty of conscience
Authors Jean L. Cohen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article focuses on an expansive conception of religious freedom propagated by a vocal group of American legal scholars – jurisdictional pluralists – often working with well-funded conservative foundations and influencing accommodation decisions throughout the US. I show that the proliferation of ‘accommodation’ claims in the name of church autonomy and religious conscience entailing exemption from civil regulation and anti-discrimination laws required by justice have a deep structure that has little to do with fairness or inclusion or liberal pluralism. Instead they are tantamount to sovereignty claims, involving powers and immunities for the religious, implicitly referring to another, higher law and sovereign than the constitution or the people. The twenty-first century version of older pluralist ‘freedom of religion’ discourses also rejects the comprehensive jurisdiction and scope of public, civil law – this time challenging the ‘monistic sovereignty’ of the democratic constitutional state. I argue that the jurisdictional pluralist approach to religious freedom challenges liberal democratic constitutionalism at its core and should be resisted wherever it arises.


Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Kelsen, Secular Religion, and the Problem of Transcendence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2015
Keywords Kelsen, secular religion, Voegelin, Schmitt, transcendence
Authors professor Bert van Roermund
AbstractAuthor's information

    An alleged ‘return to religion’ in contemporary western politics (and science) prompted the Trustees of the Hans Kelsen Institut to posthumously publish Kelsen’s critique of the concept of ‘secular religion’ advanced by his early student Eric Voegelin. This paper identifies, firstly, what concept of transcendence is targeted by Kelsen, and argues that his analysis leaves scope for other conceptions. It does so in two steps: it summarizes the arguments against ‘secular religion’ (section 2) and it gives an account of the differences between Voegelin’s and Schmitt’s conception of transcendence – both under attack from Kelsen (section 3). It then submits an alternative account of the relationship between politics and religion in Modernity, building on the concept of a ‘civil religion’ as found in Rousseau’s Social Contract. Giving a Rousseauist slant to Claude Lefort’s analysis of political theology (section 4) it concludes that a thin concept of transcendence is part and parcel of every, in particular a democratic, account of politics. It should be a stronghold against any resurgence of religion that feeds on hypostatized transcendence. In closing (section 5), it is argued that two key concepts in Kelsen’s legal philosophy may well be understood as paradigms of thin transcendence, namely ‘the people’ and ‘the Grundnorm’.


professor Bert van Roermund
Bert van Roermund is professor (em.) of philosophy at Tilburg Law School and international correspondent of the Hans Kelsen Institute in Vienna.

    The article considers the role of the liberal public-private divide in protecting religious minorities against national-majoritarian assault. It links the defence of the public-private divide to liberal neutrality and argues that it rests on two distinct propositions: that the distinction between the ’public sphere’ and the ’private sphere’ is a meaningful way to cognize and structure modern pluralistic societies; and that there is a meaningful way to distinguish what is or ought to be ‘public’ from what is or ought to be ‘private.’ While the latter proposition cannot be defended on grounds of liberal neutrality, the former proposition provides the institutional framework for conducting liberal politics by enabling the negotiation of the public and the private between national majorities and religious minorities as members of the same political community.


Daniel Augenstein
Daniel Augenstein is Associate Professor at the Department of European and International Public Law at Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open Political Jurisprudence or Institutional Normativism? Maintaining the Difference Between Arendt and Fuller

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2014
Keywords Arendt, Fuller, Hobbes, political jurisprudence, political freedom, authority, legality
Authors Michael Wilkinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Can jurisprudence fruitfully pursue a synthesis of Arendt’s political theory and Fuller’s normative legal philosophy? Might their ideas of the juridical person and the legal subject be aligned as a result of a shared concern for the value of legality, specifically of an institutional complex which is structured through the stability and predictability of the rule of law? It is doubtful that Arendt's concern for the phenomena of plurality, political freedom and action can usefully be brought into line with Fuller's normativist focus on legality, subjectivity and the inner morality of law. This doubt is explored by juxtaposing Arendt's theory of action and her remarks on the revolution, foundation and augmentation of power and authority with Fuller's philosophy that, however critical of its positivist adversaries, remains ultimately tied to a Hobbesian tradition which views authority and power in abstract, hierarchical and individualist terms.


Michael Wilkinson
Michael Wilkinson is Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics; m.wilkinson@lse.ac.uk
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 Liberalism and Societal Integration: In Defence of Reciprocity and Constructive Pluralism

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2014
Keywords societal integration, liberalism, conflict, constructive pluralism, citizenship, national communities
Authors Dora Kostakopoulou PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    Communities can only be dynamic and projective, that is, oriented towards new and better forms of cooperation, if they bring together diverse people in a common, and hopefully more equal, socio-political life and in welfare. The latter requires not only back-stretched connections, that is, the involvement of co-nationals and naturalized persons, but also forward-starched connections, that is, the involvement of citizens in waiting. Societal integration is an unhelpful notion and liberal democratic polities would benefit from reflecting critically on civic integration policies and extending the norm of reciprocity beyond its assigned liberal national limits. Reciprocity can only be a comprehensive norm in democratic societies - and not an eclectic one, that is, either co-national or co-ethnic.


Dora Kostakopoulou PhD
Dora Kostakopoulou is currently Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University. Her research interests include European public law, free movement of persons and European Union citizenship, the area of freedom, security and justice, migration law and politics, citizenship, multiculturalism and integration, democracy and legitimacy in the EU, law and global governance, political theory and constructivism, and, fairly recently, equality law.
Article

Access_open The Right to Have Rights as the Right to Asylum

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2014
Keywords Arendt, asylum, refugeeship, right to have rights, statelessness de facto and de jure
Authors Nanda Oudejans
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that the right to have rights, as launched by Hannah Arendt, is relative to refugee displacement and hence translates as a right to asylum. It takes issue with the dominant view that the public/private divide is the locus classicus of the meaning of this primordial right. A different direction of thought is proposed, proceeding from Arendt’s recovery of the spatiality of law. The unencompassibility of place in matters of rights, freedom and equality brings this right into view as a claim at the behest of those who have lost a legal place of their own. This also helps us to gain better understanding of Arendt’s rebuttal of the sharp-edged distinction between refugees and stateless persons and to discover the defiant potential of the right to have rights to illuminate the refugee’s claim to asylum as a claim to an own place where protection can be enjoyed again.


Nanda Oudejans
Nanda Oudejans is an independent researcher in philosophy of law and political philosophy.
Article

Access_open Retributivist Arguments against Presuming Innocence

Answering to Duff

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2013
Keywords broad presumption of innocence, retributivism, punishment of innocents, vicarious liability of car owners, drink-driving tests of non-suspects
Authors Alwin A. van Dijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    Factors justifying not presuming innocence are generally incorporated into the Presumption of Innocence (PoI). A confusing discourse has resulted: numerous guilt-presuming acts are deemed consistent with the PoI. I argue for an unusually broad PoI: any act that might convey to a reasonable actor that he is not presumed innocent of a punishable offence constitutes a PoI interference. Thus, academic debate need only be about the question what PoI interferences are justifiable or unjustifiable. This question must be answered using pro- and anti-PoI values. I analyse three PoI interferences in relation to Duff’s retributivist punishment theory: presumptions of guilt, vicarious liability of car owners and coercing non-suspects into proving their sobriety. Retributivists tend to castigate such procedures based on their (supposed) consequentialist rationale. I argue, however, that they might also be justified on retributivist grounds. The retributivist anti-PoI duty to punish the guilty may be the worst enemy of innocents.


Alwin A. van Dijk
Alwin A. van Dijk is Assistant Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Groningen.
Discussion

Access_open ‘We Are Also Here.’ Whose Revolution Will Democracy Be?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, public sphere, civil society, Arab Spring, feminism
Authors Judith Vega
AbstractAuthor's information

    Steven Winter’s argument is premised on a sharp contrast of individualist and social revolutions. I elaborate my doubts about his argument on three accounts, involving feminist perspectives at various points. First, I take issue with Winter’s portrayal of liberal theory, redirecting the focus of his concern to economic libertarianism rather than liberalism, and arguing a more hospitable attitude to the Kantian pith in the theory of democracy. Secondly, I discuss his conceptualization of democracy, adding the conceptual distinction of civil society and public sphere. Thirdly, I question his normative notion of socially situated selves as having an intrinsic relation to social freedom. I moreover consult cultural history on the gendered symbolics of market and democracy to further problematize Winter’s take on either’s meaning for social freedom.


Judith Vega
Judith Vega is Lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Globalization as a Factor in General Jurisprudence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2012
Keywords general jurisprudence, globalization, global legal pluralism, legal positivism, analytical jurisprudence
Authors Sidney Richards
AbstractAuthor's information

    Globalization is commonly cited as an important factor in theorising legal phenomena in the contemporary world. Although many legal disciplines have sought to adapt their theories to globalization, progress has been comparatively modest within contemporary analytical jurisprudence. This paper aims to offer a survey of recent scholarship on legal theory and globalization and suggests various ways in which these writings are relevant to the project of jurisprudence. This paper argues, more specifically, that the dominant interpretation of globalization frames it as a particular form of legal pluralism. The resulting concept – global legal pluralism – comes in two broad varieties, depending on whether it emphasizes normative or institutional pluralism. This paper goes on to argue that these concepts coincide with two central themes of jurisprudence, namely its concern with normativity and institutionality. Finally, this paper reflects on the feasibility of constructing a ‘general’ and ‘descriptive’ jurisprudence in light of globalization.


Sidney Richards
Sidney Richards is Doctoral candidate in Law at Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge.
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