Consequence-Based Arguments in Legal Reasoning: A Jurisprudential Preface to Law and Economics

  • Péter Cserne
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 98)


One of the persistent problems surrounding the discipline of law and economics is the role of economic arguments in legal reasoning. The problem has been extensively discussed in the literature but has not been ultimately solved. The present paper is a contribution to this ongoing discussion. The argument goes as follows. First, I will argue that insights from law and economics, to the extent that they claim to be directly relevant for legal reasoning, should carry a jurisprudential preface that states that this very relevance is limited and conditional. Secondly, I will introduce the concept of consequence-based reasoning and show that the typical normative claims of law and economics based on economic efficiency can be interpreted as consequence-based arguments of a special kind. Finally, in the analytical core of the paper, the conceivability, feasibility and desirability of the judicial appreciation of general social consequences of legal decisions will be considered. Referring to the philosophical, jurisprudential and institutional dimensions of the issue I will argue that in a modern constitutional democracy the scope of consequence-based judicial reasoning is limited mainly by the expertise of courts. A more general implication of this analysis is that the impact of law and economics scholarship on law can only be understood through a close look at legal reasoning in general and consequence-based arguments in particular.


Legal System Legal Reasoning Judicial Decision External Argument Legal Decision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tilburg Law School, Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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