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Advanced Introduction to Legal Research Methods

Ernst Hirsch Ballin

Written by Ernst Hirsch Ballin, this original Advanced Introduction uncovers the foundations of legal research methods, an area of legal scholarship distinctly lacking in standardisation. The author shows how such methods differ along critical, empirical, and fundamental lines, and how our understanding of these is crucial to overcoming crises and restoring trust in the law. Key topics include a consideration of law as a normative language and an examination of the common objects of legal research.
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Explorative research

Ernst Hirsch Ballin

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, which is determined by time and space (Section 6.2). Within these confinements of change, we can identify the various actors, specifically judges, legislators and – in view of the opportunities that artificial intelligence may create for increasingly adapting the law to unpredictable circumstances – a professional group that we refer to as ‘legal intelligence specialists’ (Section 6.3). The constitutional context within which explorative research may bear fruit is, of course, of no less importance than constitutionalism in general. As this context itself will obviously also not remain unchanged, explorative research needs to extend to constitutional transformations (Section 6.4). Lastly we will address the feature of law that we encountered at the start of our explorations, i.e. the grammar of law, which in its formal structure has remained remarkably stable while nevertheless absorbing profound substantive changes.

The chapter concludes with an outlook on the legal creativity that may be triggered by explorative legal research (Section 6.5). Such research recognizes the antinomies within existing views on law, and tests the constraints of legal grammar. The ensuing explorations may result in genuine legal innovations that correct and prevent injustices.

Exploring the opportunities and needs for legal change is meaningless unless related to a field of jurisdiction and application. Time and space are both essential in this respect: time, because changes in the social, economic and cultural realities within a given community resonate in legal developments; space, because the creation of extended or restricted territorial confinements (in the form of the assemblage,...

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