You wrote that our research is limited by our theory and its premises and by our research tools.
Mitsuru Suzuki

Standard legal scholarship applies hermeneutics (i.e., interpretation) as its research method alone. Thus, if we analyze a judgment, we usually look at the applicable rules (that is, higher-ranking law) as well as the arguments brought forward by the judge to justify her ruling.

However, the judgment may be influenced by other factors. The judge might have been tired and overworked, might be guided by her biases or political views, might have been motivated by the wish not to run into problems with her colleagues or with an appellate court, etc. However, these factors cannot always be studied with the tool of “doctrinal scholarship”, i.e., hermeneutics. For example, the effect of work stress or biases may be identified only through a quantitative comparison of the judgments of one judge with those of others. Or, a quantitative comparison of convictions on drug use may show a higher conviction rate for a certain population group.

But because we usually do not apply such research methods, the influence of these factors are easily overlooked by standard legal scholarship.

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