Systematic Interpretation and the Re-systematization of Law: The Problem, Co-requisites, a Solution, Use

Abstract

A renewed search for legal certainty is a reaction to the preponderance of judge made law, which has been in turn prompted by the democratic deficit of the EU and the impact of Anglo-American law. The problem is that the search is oblivious to both systematic interpretation and the need of re-systematization of law. The paper defines systematic interpretation, relates the definition to standard French and German conceptions, indicates the room for systematic interpretation in Anglo-American laws, and states prima facie reasons for a re-systematization of law as a prerequisite of systematic interpretation. The problem cannot be appreciated outside its proper context. It is a disregard for causation and evaluation. Hence the paper outlines Aristotle’s understanding of causation and evaluation in his presentation of phronesis, reconsiders continental European legal thought in the light of Aristotle’s presentation, and offers policy-oriented jurisprudence as a remedy to the deficit of evaluation and causation in European legal thought. A solution to the problem offers a typology of criteria and clarifies positive and fundamental legal concepts, positive and fundamental criteria of systematization, and the place of criteria in knowledge of law. The usefulness of the criteria is demonstrated by a common approach to the systematization of law and an alternative diagnosis of a defect of systematization diagnosed by an authority in history and philosophy of law rather than legal theory.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    European Social Charter (Revised) of 3 May 1996, European Treaty Series No. 163; https://rm.coe.int/168007cf93, Part VI (entry into force, territorial application etc.) or other parts, and European Convention on Human Rights (as amended by Protocols 11 and 14, and supplemented by Protocols 1, 4, 6, 7, 12 and 13) of 4 November 1950, European Treaty Series No. 005 at al.; http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf, do not provide for that the Charter is binding for the European Court of Human Rights.

  2. 2.

    Summers, Robert S. and Taruffo, Michele, point out [54: 464–465] that the higher courts of all legal systems analysed in the Study (Agentina, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, UK, USA) “appear to rely on what might be called a 'common core' of at least 11 basic types of argument”, which include the following two that largely overlap with what is meant by systematic interpretation, namely, “2. Arguments from a standard technical meaning of ordinary words of of technical words, legal or non-legal” and “3. Contextual-harmonization arguments”.

  3. 3.

    Other mentions of the literal rule are indexed at [62: 1472].

  4. 4.

    It assumes, usually out of ignorance, that the application of law is not the proper subject-matter of university legal education, for reasons that were stated by Kant, Immanuel, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, A 132–135/B 171–174 and assimilated by German legal educators at the turn of the 19th century, as explained by Jan Schroeder [51].

  5. 5.

    Habermas, Juergen, Theory and Practice, trans. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973), at pp. 49, 51–52; Randall, David, “The prudential public sphere“, Philosophy and Rhetoric”, vol. 44, no. 3 (2011), pp. 205–226.

  6. 6.

    Vide a survey of analytical positivistic theories of efficacy [5: 119–130], with an English summary “The Concept of Law and Efficacy - Analytical Approach”, at [5: 130].

  7. 7.

    The Axis powers created several puppet states in the countries they occupied in WWII, such as the Independent State of Croatia. It was declared nul ab initio due to the lack of sovereignty rather than for its evil deeds.

  8. 8.

    Ustav Republike Hrvatske—Pročišćeni tekst [Constitutiona of the Republic of Croatia—Consolidated Text], Narodne novine, 56/90, 135/97, 8/98, 113/00, 124/00, 28/01, 41/01, 55/01, 76/10, 85/10, 05/14.

  9. 9.

    E.g. U-I/892/1994, Narodne novine, 99/96.

  10. 10.

    E.g. U-VIIR-164/2014, Narodne novine, 15/14.

  11. 11.

    Mentioned in [27: 282]. Not even mentioned in Kaufmann, Einfuehrung, 8. Aufl. (note 10).

  12. 12.

    See for criticism of Lasswell’s claim that his political science is free of values.

  13. 13.

    Esp. at [42: 19, 20, 31, 44 ff.].

  14. 14.

    Definitio fiat per genus proximum et differentiam specificam.

  15. 15.

    Zakon o obveznim odnosima, Narodne novine, 35/2005, s izmjenama i dopunama; English translation: Civil Obligations Act of the Republic of Croatia, with amendments; https://www.bing.com/search?q=croatian+law+on+obligations&form=PRUSEN&pc=UP94&mkt.

  16. 16.

    On genetic definition and other forms of definition, see [46: 93–96, 96–148].

  17. 17.

    Zakon o znanostvenoj djelatnosti i visokom obrazovanju, Narodne novine, 123/2005, pročišćeni tekst, Narodne novine, 131/2017.

  18. 18.

    Fuller, [17: 47] gives the example of a statutory provision which was created to circumvent the constitutional prohibition of special statutes but inadvertently prompted litigation that resulted in the judicial prohibition of such provisions based on jurisprudential criteria of generality of law, that is, criteria that in this paper are considered fundamental legal criteria. The statutory provision in fraudem constitutionis runs, roughly as follows: “the statute shall apply to all the cities in the state which according to the last census had a population of more than 165.000 and less than 166.000”.

  19. 19.

    Zakon o vlasništvu i drugim stvarnim pravima, Narodne novine, 91/1996, pročišćeni tekst Narodne novine, 152/14-.

  20. 20.

    For reasons stated inter alia by Holmes, Oliver W. [24: 206–246, esp. 213–215].

  21. 21.

    The Sects. 4.1.1–4.1.2 follow closely, whereas the Sect. 4.1.3 follows remotely [49: 16–17].

  22. 22.

    Vesting [59] comes close to being a legal theory without a legal subject.

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Padjen, I.L. Systematic Interpretation and the Re-systematization of Law: The Problem, Co-requisites, a Solution, Use. Int J Semiot Law 33, 189–213 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11196-019-09672-x

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Keywords

  • Systematic interpretation
  • Systematization of law
  • Causation
  • Evaluation
  • Phronesis
  • Policy-oriented jurisprudence