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What is Legal Doctrine?


Emerson H. Tiller


Northwestern University - School of Law

Frank B. Cross


University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management; University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; University of Texas at Austin

May 16, 2005

Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 05-06

Abstract:     
Legal doctrine is the currency of the law. In many respects, doctrine is the law, at least as it comes from courts. Judicial opinions create the rules or standards that comprise legal doctrine. Yet the nature and effect of legal doctrine has been woefully understudied. Researchers from the legal academy and from political science departments have conducted extensive research on the law, but they have largely ignored the others' efforts. Part of the reason for this unfortunate disconnect is that neither has effectively come to grips with the descriptive meaning of legal doctrine. In this article, we attempt to describe the concept of legal doctrine and propound various theories of how legal doctrine may matter in judicial decision making and how those theories may be empirically tested.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: Legal doctrine, law and positive political theory

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Date posted: May 31, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Tiller, Emerson H. and Cross, Frank B., What is Legal Doctrine? (May 16, 2005). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 05-06. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=730284 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.730284

Contact Information

Emerson H. Tiller (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
Frank B. Cross
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management ( email )
CBA 5.202
Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-471-5250 (Phone)
512-471-0587 (Fax)
University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
University of Texas at Austin
PO Box Y
Austin, TX 78713
United States
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