The Concept of Legal Uncertainty

34 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012

See all articles by Kevin E. Davis

Kevin E. Davis

New York University School of Law

Date Written: November 2011


There is a great deal of theoretical literature on the causes and consequences of legal uncertainty. However, there has been virtually no empirical analysis of these issues, perhaps on account of the absence of rigorously defined yet practical measures of legal uncertainty. This article defines several different kinds of legal uncertainty in ways that correspond to well-recognized concepts such as risk and ambiguity and shows how survey data can be used to construct measures of those forms of legal uncertainty.

Keywords: uncertainty, risk, ambiguity, law

Suggested Citation

Davis, Kevin E., The Concept of Legal Uncertainty (November 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Kevin E. Davis (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

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Vanderbilt Hall, Room 335
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212-992-8843 (Phone)


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