Theory of law and contemporary juridical thought

ldroi1308  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Theory of law and contemporary juridical thought
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
3 credits
30.0 h
Main themes
This course introduces the student to the principal debates focusing on the role of law in society and the transformations that this role has experienced. Rather than an abstract or purely doctrinal introduction to these debates, the course places these elements in their historical context - also situating the genealogy of the questions faced by law theory - and tries to position them with regard to the contribution of reflection on contemporary questions such as, for example, the relationship between democracy and constitutionalism, or the increasing process of law procedures. In order to attain the above-mentioned objectives, the course on law theory and contemporary juridical thought will provide readings on the way their relation with market rights has evolved and on the successive interpretations that have been put forward in these here. The course will thus place focus on the different functions that have been attributed to the State in the regulation of the market relations, since the conception of the liberal State to the rise of the social state and the questioning of its existence, or to the attempts to redefine it that we witness today. At the start of this reading key, the course offers a comparison of the evolutions that have taken place in the United States , on the one hand and in Europe, on the other. An important part of the course is reserved for the study of the role of the relationship between contractual libery and fundamental rights to the regulation of the market by the State and also to the relation between juridical regulations and economic analysis. No prerequisite is imposed for this course. The teaching methods are classical : the course is based on lectures with intermittent discussions with the audience, in which the students are encouraged to participate. Course support materials consist of a file of documentation including doctrine articles and jurisprudence decisions, relevant to the presentation of the course content. The student will also be provided with a bibliography to help him complete the notes taken during the lectures or better prepare the course activities, if he so wishes. The exam is in written form, with a closed book. It consists of two questions for reflection, the objective of which is to evaluate the student's capacity to link the theoretical debates analysed during the course to doctrinal questions of a more concrete nature that he may encounter when practising his future profession.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 This course aims to introduce the student to the theoretical debates focusing on the evolution of law in contemporary societies and on the different interpretations which are put forward. The student should thus be able to have access to the concepts and authors which will help him to adopt a critical and reflective stand with regard to the current situation on positive law.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
This course shall map the developments of governmental rationality since the birth of modern societies in the Western world, by emphasizing the role of the law in shaping the relationship between State and market. We will examine in turn the legacy of liberal revolutions, centered on the affirmation of individual and collective self-determination, and leading first to establish the liberal State, and then the Welfare State (part I); neoliberalisms, that seek to govern by the diffusion of market mechanisms (part II); the contribution, since the 2000 decade, of behavioral sciences (part III), which occurred in parallel to the emergence, also during this recent period, of mechanisms aiming at strengthening self-determination (the "commons", the organisation of "sociodiversity", with a pluralism of lifestyles, and participatory democracy) (part IV).
Teaching methods
This course will be based on lectures, regularly interrupted by interactive exchanges, as well as on the intervention of guest lecturers and short video sequences. Note that the use of laptops is not allowed in class, in order to facilitate interactive exchanges.
Evaluation methods
This course is subject to a method of continuous evaluation. At the end of each class, starting with the class of 29 October, the students shall receive a form that shall comprise two parts :
1° three multiple choice questions, related to the topic discussed during the session, in order to assess your correct understanding of the subject ;
2° a question of reflection, calling for a short answer (of 10-12 lines).
All the responses to the MCQ (part 1 of the form) shall be assessed, however the final evaluation shall only take into account the five best scores (out of a total of 8 'scores' resulting from the answers to the MCQ). This shall count for 75% of the final evaluation (in other terms, for 15/20). As regards the question of reflection (part 2 of the form), one of your answers shall be selected by lot, at the end of the term, for the last component of the evaluation (for the remaining 5/20).
Online resources
The course has a Moodle page on which the student shall find all necessary resources, including, as much as possible, in order to prepare the class in advance.
Teaching materials
  • Feuille de route du cours de Théorie du droit et pensée juridique contemporaine, 2019-2020
  • Feuille de route du cours de Théorie du droit et pensée juridique contemporaine, 2019-2020
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Law