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Bern RUTHERS: Legal dogmatics and legal politics

Abstract: Following an introductory overview of several foundational conceptual issues relating to the definition and genesis of legal dogmatics, the paper examines the gradual transformation of legal dogmatics in the process of shifting from a statute-based state (Gesetzestaat) to a judicial state (Richterstaat). In the author's view, the main functions fullfilled by legal dogmatics in the realm of legal practice include: ordering and systematisation, stabilisation,  the function of exoneration, „prohibition of denial” and the criticism and perfecting function. The primary thesis of the author focusses on the relation between legal dogmatics and legal politics, the former beeing seen as the „crystallized” instatiation of the latter. Irrespective of the political or ideological affiliations of the members of the judiciary, the encroachments of judical interventionism combined with biased or ad-hoc methodological approaches – including „unbounded interference and interpretation”  –  in deciding political-charged cases  are nowadays the main threats to both legal dogmatics and to the „Rechtsstaat”.

Keywords: statute-based state (Gesetzestaat), judicial state (Richterstaat).


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