Legal Uncertainty

Anthony D'Amato

Northwestern University - School of Law

November 11, 2010

California Law Review, Vol. 71, 1983
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-79

Legal certainty decreases over time. Rules and principles of law become more and more uncertain in content and in application because legal systems are biased in favor of unraveling those rules and principles. In this article I attempt to show what these biases are, and why commentators who have argued that the law tends toward certainty are wrong, then describe various attempts which have been made at restoring certainty, and why these attempts have generally not worked. My conclusion is that these proposals are at best holding actions, and that the tendency toward increasing uncertainty in the law is inexorable.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 53

Keywords: legal certainty, legal uncertainty, judicial discretion, Case Revision Commission

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K39, K40, K49

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Date posted: November 14, 2010  

Suggested Citation

D'Amato, Anthony, Legal Uncertainty (November 11, 2010). California Law Review, Vol. 71, 1983; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-79. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1707826

Contact Information

Anthony D'Amato (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
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