The Merits of Law: An Argumentative Framework for Evaluative Judgements and Normative Recommendations in Legal Research

Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, Forthcoming

Erasmus Working Paper Series on Jurisprudence and Socio-Legal Studies, No. 17-01, February 22, 2018

38 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2017 Last revised: 16 Mar 2018

See all articles by Wibren van der Burg

Wibren van der Burg

Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: February 22, 2018

Abstract

Is the law good? How can it be improved?

These questions are frequently addressed, both in traditional doctrinal research and in interdisciplinary legal research. In this article, I elaborate a general argumentative framework for justifying evaluations and recommendations for legislative reform, and I identify the chains of argument for making evaluations and recommendations. This may help researchers to make their arguments explicit and transparent, and then to justify the choices made for each of the steps in the argument. This enables readers – as well as authors – to assess whether the argument’s conclusions are sound and convincing. A key problem in making these arguments concerns the choice of standards for evaluation. I suggest that they can be best understood in terms of the underlying values. In order to make all-things-considered evaluations and normative recommendations, interdisciplinary cooperation between doctrinal, socio-legal, and legal-philosophical researchers is necessary. Therefore, individual researchers will usually have to settle for pro tanto evaluations and recommendations.

Keywords: legal research methods, evaluation, recommendations, law reform, argumentative practice, chain of justification, argumentative framework, values

Suggested Citation

van der Burg, Wibren, The Merits of Law: An Argumentative Framework for Evaluative Judgements and Normative Recommendations in Legal Research (February 22, 2018). Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, Forthcoming; Erasmus Working Paper Series on Jurisprudence and Socio-Legal Studies, No. 17-01, February 22, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3020624 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3020624

Wibren Van der Burg (Contact Author)

Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam ( email )

Section Sociology, Theory and Methodology
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.wibrenvanderburg.nl

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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