But what does the law say? Reading legal texts socio-legally
Via zoom (please email Jessica Allen to register)
Friday, 11 December 2020, 9.15 – 13.00 UK time
Engaging with formal state legal orders is a significant aspect of various strands of socio-legal research. It informs, for instance, socio-legal research that contrasts implementation and enforcement practices of regulators and civil society actors ‘in action’ with the formal law ‘in the books’. An understanding of formal state legal orders also matters for socio-legal research that starts from ‘the social’ and generates explanatory accounts of social norms which may ultimately be in conflict with or further flesh out state legal norms.
Hence, a range of socio-legal studies are informed by specific understandings of what the content and meaning of state law is. Doctrinal analysis, including specific rules of statutory interpretation, is an important tool for justifying claims about what a specific legal provision means and what it does. But are there also other i.e. socio-legal ways of reading a judgement or legislation that include the political, economic and social context of the legal text?
This interdisciplinary and interactive workshop explores this question on the basis of reading a specific judicial decision and two pieces of legislation which can be down-loaded here:
- The State of the Netherlands (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate) and Stichting Urgenda, ECLI:NL:HR:2019:2007.
Especially Articles 1,2, chapter III: Art. 3 h, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 (1), 12 (1), 14, 16 (1)
- The Modern Slavery Act 2015, especially s. 54.
These examples of a judicial case and legislative provisions are intended to stimulate debate about what it means to read legal texts in legal and socio-legal ways. What are the strengths and limitations of both of these ways of approaching legal texts?
The discussion is intended to highlight generic features of legal and socio-legal readings of legal texts. Workshop participants do not need to have prior knowledge of the substantive fields of law engaged by the case and the legislative provisions.
The workshop builds on a previous session dedicated to developing a dialogue between social science and legal perspectives for reading legal texts which was part of the ‘Winterschule 2019’ at the Humboldt University Berlin. This workshop continues this dialogue as part of the co-operation between the Law and Society Institute at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford. It seeks to contribute to thinking about socio-legal methods across the common and civil law traditions.
Presenters will provide an introduction to reading a judicial decision and legislation. Workshop participants will have ample opportunity to contribute to the discussion.
Participation in this zoom workshop is free. For access to the zoom call link and questions to kick-off discussions please register with Jessica Allen by the 1st of December 2020 at the latest: