Argumentation plays an important role in the Law. Someone who presents a legal thesis is expected to put forth arguments to support it. A lawyer who brings a case to court must justify his or her case with arguments. The judge who takes a decision is expected to support this decision with arguments. 1 When a legislator introduces a bill in parliament, he is expected to support his proposal with reasons. Even legal scholars are expected to justify their opinions when presenting them to their colleagues. Everybody who advances a legal standpoint and wishes this standpoint to be accepted by others, will have to present justifying arguments.
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- 1.In some legal systems, there are statutory provisions which define the required elements of a publicly justified decision. For instance, under section 121 of the Dutch Consitution a legal judgement must specify the grounds underlying the decision. In Germany s. 313 (1) of the Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) says that the decision has to contain the operative provisions of the decision, the facts, and the reasons on which the decision is based. In Sweden, according to the Code of Procedure, a judgement of a court must contain a statement of claim and defence, the issues as presented to the court, the reasons given by the court for its order or decree, and the order or decree itself. For a description of conventions and styles of justifying legal decisions in various countries see MacCormick and Summers (1991).Google Scholar
- 2.In Continental law, normally the term ‘legal theory’ is used to refer to the discipline in which the standards of rationality of legal decisions are studied. In Anglo-American law, the term ‘jurisprudence’ is normally used.Google Scholar