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Ancilla Iuris offers a professional and state-of-the-art publication platform to advance European contributions on constellations of law and society. Following a interdisciplinary approach, we bring together law with its neighboring disciplines such as Political Sciences, Economics, Sociology, Linguistics, Philosophy, History, Art, Psychology etc.

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  • From 'Economic Constitution I, II' to the 'Self-justifying Law of Constitutional Law': On the criticality of Rudolf Wiethölter's Critical Systems Theory
  • The Thoughtful Judge: A Timely Reminder Under Populism

    As populism is on the rise (and, so it seems, here to stay), judges are especially vulnerable to public criticism and political pressure. Their constitutional mandate is harder than ever to fulfill, as they must carry out their interpretative task regardless of these potentially overwhelming external influences. In other words, judges must keep exercising their legal authority in a thoughtful way. What does thoughtfulness require from judges? In this short note, I start from Hannah Arendt’s and Stuart Hampshire’s accounts of thoughtfulness (I.), accounts which can be found in excerpts of their respective works Responsibility and Judgment1 (for Arendt) and Innocence and Experience2 (for Hampshire), and which remain highly relevant in our populist time. I analyze what these two pieces – which I consider to be convergent and complementary – entail for judicial decision-making. Based on these authors’ insights, I claim that judges, in order to be thoughtful, must adopt an approach to judicial interpretation that fosters case-by-case assessment, independence, impartiality, and an ongoing questioning of the legitimacy of existing legal norms (II.). They must also overcome the obstacles to thoughtfulness created by the legal system (III.).

  • Empowerment through technology? How to deal with technology options in the liberaldemocratic state ? the example of egg cell preservation

    In the future, a woman who registers for law or medical school—and knows ahead of time that she will spend her prime baby-making years in the trenches— would ask for loans for tuition and egg freezing at the same time. Or she might ask a boyfriend who wants to wait a few years to start a family to pony up for the procedure. In either scenario, she would assume control of her fertility from the outset, rather than freeze her eggs as a frenzied reaction to her life’s not having unfolded the way she imagined.

  • Systems Theory and the International Rule of Law

    Systems theorists have been criticized for failing to provide an adequate account of the features of the international legal system. This criticism of systems theory parallels a similar critique of international law advanced by positivists working in the Anglo- Saxon legal tradition. Systems theory’s critics have attempted to use Hart’s argument against international as an argument against systems theoretic account of international law. The factors which influenced Hart’s critique of international law are well-known: it is open-textured, structurally decentralized, and lacks a single clear rule of recognition. In this paper, I attempt to answer some of these criticisms. I argue that the positivist critique of systems theory mischaracterizes the nature and structure of international law. To make this argument I first develop a broadly Luhmannian account of international law and the international rule of law and argue for an autopoietic account of international law-making. Second, I suggest that systems theory does a better job of answering positivist criticisms of international law than similar versions. I conclude by arguing that systems theory does a better job of identifying and explaining the unique features of international law and the international the rule of law.

  • Legal Orientalism and its European Heritage: An Essay on Teemu Ruskola's Legal Orientalism

    The debate about legal Orientalism has gained traction in Western as well as in Chinese legal scholarship. The benchmark of this field of study is currently Teemu Ruskola’s Legal Orientalism. While Ruskola’s book focuses on the United States, China and modern law, the following article recommends reinterpreting his argument from a European perspective. Thus, the article first reflects on whether a European perspective is appropriate and explains how it applies to the following argument (I). It goes on to argue that Legal Orientalism provides a deconstructive argument, hinting thereby at what remains to be thought about the Orientalist legal discourse. It is notably the notion of “Oriental legalism” that points to something beyond legal Orientalism (II). The article therefore then comments on this concept and explores some further avenues for how to rethink legal Orientalism from a more European perspective. The main suggestion is that we should refine Ruskola’s conceptual analysis of legal Orientalism as well as his presentation of the “Western” starting point (III).

  • Flexibilization Instruments in Catholic Canon Law

    In a first step (“premises”), the article tries to illuminate how the Catholic Church and Canon law see themselves, in particular: e.g. the Church as a divine-human reality; the difference between theological truth and law, and the unavoidable need for flexibility in the application of the law, so that Canon law may best reach its goal: the salus animarum. The second part of the article explains the individual means or instruments for handling the law in a flexible manner, both on the part of the authority (e.g. dispensation, tolerantia) and on the part of the addressees of legal norms (e.g. epikeia, impossibilium nulla est obligatio). The question of the flexibility of a certain legal system comprises two aspects: on the one hand, the question of the changeability and adaptability of the legal system as a whole as a rather fundamental question, on the other hand, the question of rigidity or flexibility in the application of law in individual cases as a methodological problem. In religiously shaped and determined legal systems both aspects become a problem—because the law is anchored in an inviolable religious foundation. The following considerations are primarily focused on the second aspect, but attempt to take into account the flexibility of the universal legal order of the Catholic Church, too. Obviously both aspects of the problem depend decisively on the self-understanding of the legal community, in this case the Catholic Church, and the task and function of the law of this community founded therein. At the same time, however, the concept of law and the relationship between legal certainty (formal justice) and individual justice (material justice) are at the center of the discussion. Therefore, in a first step some elementary circumstances with regard to the character and function of canon law are to be pointed out.

  • Flexibility in Religious Law

    All measures and judicial decisions of the Church are aimed at the salvation of mankind. This soteriological orientation requires in concrete cases the possibility of a pastoral exception, called oikonomia in the Orthodox Church. The suspension or mitigation of absolute canonical orders in Church life regularly comes into force both in the narrow sense of confession and in the large framework of synodal processes of autocephalous churches with the sole model of not transgressing the limits imposed by Church doctrine.

  • Oikonomia and its limits in Orthodox Canon Law

    Muslim scholars were anxious to dynamize existing law and to evaluate new cases that were not addressed in the authoritative sources, in conformity with the law. From the 2nd and 8th centuries onwards, in particular, methods of finding and furthering the law were developed which, depending on different epistemological attitudes, were discussed in a way that made the law very flexible and even conserved it. The present article refers to three legal mechanisms as examples: The narrow interpretation of the text, which tends to inhibit flexibility; 2. the emphasis on the overarching aims of Sharia law, which allows for flexibility but (strongly) controls it; and 3. an unknown alternative approach by Ibn Rushd (Averroes), who divides law into natural and positive law and applies it to Islamic law accordingly. This last approach is seen in the present article as a possibility to gain an Islamic-theological and legal-philosophically founded alternative method for the discussions on the role of contemporary Islamic law.

  • Three Models to Resolve the Tension Between Tradition and Innovation in Islamic Law

    This article builds on the four presentations given at the Heidelberg workshop on “Methodological Approaches to Flexibility in Religious Laws” on 11 May 2017. It tries to show similarities and differences between Jewish and Islamic law as well as between Orthodox and Catholic canon law. Contrary to widespread opinion that religious law is unchangeable, it first deals with the various flexibilization mechanisms in the four legal traditions and asks for their reasons. It examines whether these mechanisms fulfill a different function when there is an active lawmaker and codified law in a legal order. Are they merely about the interpretation of existing norms or also about developing them further? Are these instruments only in the hands of the religious authorities or also available to the ordinary faithful? Flexibility exists in secular law, too, but in religious law it has the special feature of being theologically justified.

  • Form and Function of Rabbinic Responsa - Comparative Law Perspectives

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