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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 The Obligation of Judges to Uphold Rules of Positive Law and Possibly Conflicting Ethical Values in Context

The Case of Criminalization of Homelessness in Hungary

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Authors Petra Gyöngyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the tension between the constitutional obligation of judges to uphold rules of positive law and possibly conflicting standards of conduct arising from professional-ethical values. The theoretical analysis will be illustrated by the case of Hungary, an EU member state experiencing rule of law challenges since 2010 and where the 2018-2019 criminalization of homelessness exemplifies the studied tension. Inspired by the theories of Philip Selznick and Martin Krygier, rule of law will be viewed as a value that requires progressive realization and context-specific implementation. By contextualizing the relevant Hungarian constitutional framework with the content of the judicial code of ethics and judicial practice, it will be shown how the legitimate space for Hungarian judges to distance themselves from legislation possibly in conflict with rule of law values is reduced. Theoretical suggestions for addressing such rule of law regressions will be made.


Petra Gyöngyi
Petra Gyöngyi is postdoctoral fellow aan de University of Oslo.

Elaine Mak
Elaine Mak is hoogleraar Rechtstheorie en Enclyopedie van de rechtswetenschappen aan de Universiteit Utrecht.

Anne Ruth Mackor
Anne Ruth Mackor is hoogleraar Hoogleraar professie-ethiek, in het bijzonder van juridische professies aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Iris van Domselaar
Iris van Domselaar is universitair hoofddocent aan de Amsterdamse rechtenfaculteit.
Article

Access_open Legal and Political Concepts as Contextures

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Concepts, Contextualism, Essentially Contested Concepts, Legal Theory, Freedom
Authors Dora Kostakopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    Socio-political concepts are not singularities. They are, instead, complex and evolving contextures. An awareness of the latter and of what we need to do when we handle concepts opens up space for the resolution of political disagreements and multiplies opportunities for constructive dialogue and understanding. In this article, I argue that the concepts-as-contextures perspective can unravel conceptual connectivity and interweaving, and I substantiate this by examining the ‘contexture’ of liberty. I show that the different, and seemingly contested, definitions of liberty are the product of mixed articulations and the development of associative discursive links within a contexture.


Dora Kostakopoulou
Dora Kostakopoulou is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU and Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University.
Article

Access_open Recht en politiek in de klimaatzaken

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

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Authors Vincent Dupont
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.
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