Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

DROI1215 - Critical introduction to contemporary legal thinking

Credits : 3

Lecturer :

Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory.

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
By the end of the course, the student should have understood the specificity of the theory of law, both in the nature of its questioning and in the originality of its methods. He should master the main theses concerning the issues studied (essentially: legal reasoning, the validity of legal norms and systems, epistemology of legal sciences) and should also be able to understand their importance in relation to the transformations of contemporary law.

Prerequisites :
Co-requisites :

Course contents :
The course consists of a critical study of the methods and foundations of law (or: of its sources and principles). It bases itself on the positive law expertise acquired in other law courses and on the knowledge content developed as part of the philosophy and human sciences courses. In this sense, it completely takes on its interdisciplinary vocation, which characterises the programme of the bachelor of law degree. It is also a crossroad-course, which aims to put the main questions of the theory of law (legal reasoning, validity, nature of the legal knowledge, definition and functions of law, relations between legal systems) in a critical perspective that enlightens their resources.
The course, which develops some chapters of the book “De la pyramide au réseau ? Pour une théorie dialectique du droit”, Bruxelles, Publications des FUSL, 2002, is in line with a fundamental change that affects contemporary legal phenomena: the shift from a hierarchic and linear paradigm (the “pyramid” model) to an interactive and recursive paradigm (the “network” model). After having assessed this shift in positive law (as well as the persistent entanglement of the two models), the course will analyse its consequences on the methods (reasoning of the judge, doctrinal work, legal sciences) and foundations of law (validity, situated between legality, effectiveness and legitimacy).

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
The course is an ex cathedra lecture. In the second half of the year, a seminar given by several colleagues will enable the students to develop a personal research approach in the continuation of the theoretical frame set out in the lecture. At the beginning of the course, the students will have at their disposal a syllabus containing all the course material developed in class.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The assessment is an oral examination. The students have the option to present a personal question. The examination is generally composed of three questions (the students have at their disposal a preparation time for the first question) intended to measure students' degree of appropriation of knowledge, as well as the understanding of the issues studied in class. They will be tested on their ability to mobilise analyses of human sciences and philosophy to enlighten legal phenomena.

Recommended or required reading :
The bibliography of the course is contained in the following book:

F.OST et M.van de KERCHOVE, De la pyramide au réseau ? Pour une théorie dialectique du droit, Bruxelles, Publications des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, 2002.

Other information :