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LWSO201 - Economic Theories of Law_1.doc

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University of Calgary
Law and Society
LWSO 201
Marywyatt Sindlinger

Economic Theories of Law 1) Law • law is a complex product of interacting social forces • The legal system reflects and entrenches these forced social and societal norms • Laws are always socially situated • legitimizes and reflects power relationships • Key focus of legal liberalism: Law and Power 2) Legal LIberalism:general features a) idea of individualize self: individuals are rational, free-choosing and autonomous b) Commitment to democratically promulgated rules c) equal treatment of all citizens before and under the law d) separation of legislation and judicial functions in society e) legal principles broadly formulated on which society operates f) procedural formalities to protect the individual in the legal system 3) Legal Liberalism and its ties to Capitalism a) Nature of human beings: rational, free thinking, autonomous, prior to and independent of the community and other selves • individuals needs are taken care of first so that society as a whole can thrive • rational, free thinking, autonomous, prior to and independence of the community b) Linked to democracy and capitalism • a capitalistic system maximizes economic freedom of individual values contract, lowering taxes. Law provides structure, stability and certainty. Certainty of a contract and action. also, certainty in relationships work to our advantage even if it means breaking agreements. c) governing principles • liberty: state and law should provide individuals with as much space as possible to pursue their own individuals with as much space as possible to pursue their own individual intersts • equality: each person has equal rights to pursue interests no matter what identity • neutrality of the state: state is agnostic as to the nature of good life, state has no position of deciding • Results: decrease in government intervention in law and society a) people bump into each other: law should provide frameworks to pursue our interests b) law should pave the way, mediate, foliate social interactions that are good for society as a whole. c) Our Charter favours individuals but also those rights have been justified to the balance of our society d) formal vs. substantive equality • formal: equality of treatment • substantive: equality of opportunity or results • e.g. disabled twins to play soccer • law as balancing tool between society and individuals. e.g. The Charter of Rights of Freedoms 4) Critiques • most of us are not that rational. • The idea is that we are equaly free, equaly autonomous and rationan. The truth is that we are not all equal because of power. 5) Marxist theorie
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