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A Modest Notion of Coherence in Legal Reasoning. A Model for the European Court of Justice

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The aim of this article is to propose a theoretical theme to explain coherence in legal reasoning. The main argument that this paper wants to put forward is that theories of coherence in the legal system should be differentiated from theories of coherence in legal reasoning. These focus on arguments, and on how the given arguments are connected. In particular, the notion of coherence in legal reasoning proposed here is a modest one. The article applies this theme to the case-law of the European Court of Justice in environmental matters. This provides an example of how to deal with conflicts between incommensurable goods, and how to promote coherence by justifying decisions.

Simple folk have an advantage over the learned, who often get lost in the search for general laws. They often have the intuition of the individual. But this intuition by itself is insufficient. (Eco, The Name of the Rose)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Granada Law Faculty, Granada, Spain

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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