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Outsourcing the Law

A Philosophical Perspective on Regulation

Pauline Westerman

Not only can services such as cleaning and catering be outsourced, but also governmental tasks such as making, applying and enforcing the law. Outsourcing the law is usually recommended for its cost-efficiency, flexibility, higher rates of compliance and its promise of deregulation. However, lawmaking is not the same as cleaning and rules are more than just tools to achieve aims. In this timely book, Pauline Westerman analyses this outsourcing from a philosophical perspective.
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Chapter 8: A rule of outsourced law

Pauline Westerman


Chapter 8 examines the relation between outsourced law and the Rule of Law. The latter is taken in the most minimal sense of the word, as being guided by rules. It is argued that the idea of a rule as both general in scope and constant in time is no longer cherished as an ideal. Instead, differentiated and flexible forms of regulation are called for which more adequately respond to specific needs and circumstances. However, this does not imply that the ideal of the Rule of Law in the broad sense of the word, as encompassing human rights, is abandoned. Instead we see that such rights are often reformulated as ends to be pursued which then form the starting-point – as aspirational norms – for outsourced legislation and regulation. Finally, attention is paid to the particular way in which the Rule of Law has turned into an export-product, a goal in itself the realisation of which is outsourced to the governments of other – fragile – countries.

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