Legitimacy of the Judiciary

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Legitimacy regards evaluative criteria for the obligation to obey the law. Besides the concept of legality (law should be created by authoritative bodies), we need the concept of legitimacy to explain the authority of law and the citizens' duty of obedience to the law. Respect for legal principles reinforce the law's claim to legitimacy, for legal principles serve the law's aim of justice. They are expressions of the values the law serves and can be seen as a bridge to the norms and values of a society. As such, they are evaluative criteria for the law and, therefore, for the law's claim to legitimacy. Thus, legal principles function as essential criteria of evaluation for law-making by the judiciary, and its legitimacy. The judiciary is bound by legal principles. Subsequently, in this report, some topics in legal theory regarding the role of principles in judicial decision-making were analysed, e.g., the determination of the aim of ambiguous law, the standards of rationality in the implementation of principles, and the relationship between principles, rules, and the facts of the case. Finally, some aspects of judicial practice and the contribution of judicial communication and of symbolic judicial decisions to judicial legitimacy were discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNetherlands Reports to the Sixteenth International Congress of Comparative Law, Brisbane 2002
EditorsE. Hondius, C. Joustra
Place of PublicationAntwerpen Oxford New York
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9050952321
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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