Chapter 20. Legal Formalism

  1. Dennis Patterson Professor2,3,4
  1. Ernest J. Weinrib Special Lecturer Fellow

Published Online: 27 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320114.ch20

A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Second edition

A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Second edition

How to Cite

Weinrib, E. J. (2010) Legal Formalism, in A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Second edition (ed D. Patterson), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320114.ch20

Editor Information

  1. 2

    European University Institute, Florence, Italy

  2. 3

    Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, New Jersey, USA

  3. 4

    Swansea University, Wales, United Kingdom

Author Information

  1. University of Toronto, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 JAN 2010
  2. Published Print: 19 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405170062

Online ISBN: 9781444320114

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Keywords:

  • legal formalism - rumor, that legal formalism is dead;
  • project of formalism - formalism, a theory of legal justification;
  • “formalism” - suggesting contrast between formal and substantive;
  • understanding law as a justificatory enterprise - formalists, elucidating its nature, structure(s) and ground;
  • nature of justification - tort law setting up a lottery for both litigants;
  • formalist seeing in abolitionist critique of tort law - indication of what would answer the critique;
  • structures of justification;
  • justifications do not act as justifications - unless legal relationships are coherent;
  • classic treatment of justificatory structure - Aristotle's discussion of justice;
  • formalism representing the law's aspiration - to be an immanently intelligible normative practice

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Project of Formalism

  • The Nature of Justification

  • The Structures of Justification

  • The Ground of Justification

  • The Immanent Intelligibility of Law

  • Conclusion

  • References