Form and Formalism: The View from Legal Theory



Abstract.  The article considers Robert Summers' new book (Summers 2006), in the context of Summers' earlier work and the role of form and formalism in other jurisprudential discussions. While accepting the value of a form-centered approach to studying law, the article questions Summers' claim that his approach is clearly superior to (and not merely complementary with) traditional analytic theories, like those of Hart and Kelsen. The article also suggests that the book's discussion of form in contract and commercial law is somewhat disappointing, given Summers' expertise in this area, and the many difficult form-related questions that area raises.