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GOODHART'S CONCESSION: DEFENDING RATIO DECIDENDI FROM LOGICAL POSITIVISM AND LEGAL REALISM IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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Abstract:

This article interprets Arthur Goodhart's theory of ratio decidendi as a response to Logical Positivism, Behavioralism and Legal Realism. The author argues that Goodhart attempted to construct a non-metaphysical concept of ratio decidendi that comported with the radical empiricism of the prevailing philosophy of science. With his theory, Goodhart attempted to preserve rule of law values that he believed Legal Realism threatened. Goodhart's views on ratio decidendi were rejected by Legal Realists such as Karl Llewellyn, and have been criticized by non-Legal Realists. Nevertheless the author suggests that Goodhart's focus on determining the ratio decidendi by reference to the material facts of a case has relevance to those areas of law that are theory deficient. The article concludes that the greatest value of Goodhart's theory was its stimulation of academic interest in the topic of ratio decidendi.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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