Browse by title
This volume arrives at an important inflection point in the relationship between law and computation. Technological, scientific, and methodological developments are increasingly allowing computation to provide not just efficiencies in the traditional ways we practice or study the law, but new perspectives on the law and potential paradigmatic shifts in how we think about and understand it. These developments have already been major factors in the recent evolution of many other academic fields, as evidenced for example by the rise of computational social science, computational biology, the digital humanities, and many more emerged and still-emerging subdisciplines. Although law has perhaps lagged somewhat behind its peer disciplines in adopting and adapting computational research methods, that has begun to change in recent years as more and more legal scholars have begun applying computational methods in the course of their research. This volume explores this emergence of computational legal studies by presenting a variety of research that is either representative of, or in conversation with, the field. Before setting out to explore the state of computational legal studies, it is important first to provide at least a general delineation of what it might include and exclude. Computers and the law intersect in a variety of ways, none of which is entirely independent of one another, but all of which benefit from being independently identified in a discussion about computational legal studies. Perhaps the most common association between computers and the law is the substantive law that is increasingly faced with questions that arise as society becomes more and more digitally mediated. This area of study and practice is sometimes referred to as cyberlaw, and extends to a diverse set of legal areas including free expression, cybersecurity, privacy, and more. Although cyberlaw is broad in the legal areas it extends to, its scholarship is united by the central relevance of technology and technologically mediated social behavior to the questions it explores.
Lassa Oppenheim wrote in 1921 that ‘[h]e [or she] who would portray the future of international law must first of all be exact in his [or her] attitude towards its past and present’. His earlier quasi-manifesto on The Science of International Law in 1908 inspired the adoption of a more scientific approach in researching a well-known ‘mystery’ of international law, namely the ‘general principles of law recognized by civilized nations’ (the ‘general principles’) as codified in Article 38(1)(c) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Article 38(1) provides that ‘[t]he Court . . . shall apply . . . (c) the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations’. Although part of the Court’s Statute since 1920, scholars have not yet come to an agreement as to what general principles are. Some authors even argue that general principles do not belong among the sources of international law. The combination of the empirical research and inductive analysis presented in this chapter seeks to (1) provide a more accurate and objective image of what general principles are and (2) contribute towards an agreement on the definition of general principles, a century after their inception as part of Article 38(1)(c).
In the past few years, it has become increasingly self-evident that the research methodologies of international law can no longer be confined to pure normative and doctrinal analysis. They need to be complemented by interdisciplinary approaches. Indeed, a new generation of scholars is engaging in pioneering empirical and socio-legal studies in fields as diverse as arbitration, international economic law and international courts and tribunals. I believe we are witnessing a wave of change within the international legal academia and the chapters featuring in this collection are testament to that paradigm shift, being themselves instances of cuttingedge research in the socio-legal and empirical law fields. Empirical, socio-legal and, in general, interdisciplinary analyses of international legal issues now abound. Technological advancements greatly facilitate the ongoing transition to a pluralist approach to research methods in international law, at the same time allowing use of specialized, yet user-friendly, computer software for empirical investigation and increasing the availability of online materials to conduct doctrinal analysis through ever faster and comprehensive databases.
Edited by Russell Sandberg, Norman Doe, Bronach Kane and Caroline Roberts
Rob van Gestel and Andreas Lienhard
Who are the best legal scholars in Europe in different fields of law? Which journals are considered the best in Europe and what sorts of assessment methods do editorial boards and publishers apply when evaluating manu¬scripts? These are but a few of the questions that are difficult to answer for legal academics, university managers and funding bodies. To outsiders, these kinds of questions might seem trivial, because in most other (social) sciences many scholars know each other’s h-index, there are official rankings of journals and publishers, and editorial boards are quite clear about the standards they apply for (single or double blind) peer review. In law, however, all this is different. Not only do legal academics in Europe publish a wide variety of articles, essays, books, commentaries, case notes and so on, in a broad range of languages, about a wide variety of national legal systems; but unlike scholars in the hard sciences, they also address multiple audiences. The readership of legal scholars ranges from other academics to courts, solicitors, legislators and so on. Without realizing it, the absence of uniform evaluation practices for academic legal publications may have unexpected consequences.