Why Law Matters by Alon HarelWhy Law Matters by Alon Harel

Why Law Matters

byAlon Harel

Paperback | November 29, 2015

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Contemporary political and legal theory typically justifies the value of political and legal institutions on the grounds that such institutions bring about desirable outcomes - such as justice, security, and prosperity. In the popular imagination, however, many people seem to value publicinstitutions for their own sake. The idea that political and legal institutions might be intrinsically valuable has received little philosophical attention. Why Law Matters presents the argument that legal institutions and legal procedures are valuable and matter as such, irrespective of theirinstrumental value.Harel advances the argument in several ways. Firstly, he examines the value of rights. Traditionally it is believed that rights are valuable because they promote the realisation of values such as autonomy. Instead Harel argues that the values underlying (some) rights are partially constructed byentrenching rights. Secondly he argues that the value of public institutions are not grounded (ONLY) in the contingent fact that such institutions are particularly accountable to the public. Instead, some goods are intrinsically public; their value hinges on their public provision. Thirdly he showsthat constitutional directives are not mere contingent instruments to promote justice. In the absence of constitutional entrenchment of rights, citizens live "at the mercy of" their legislatures (even if legislatures protect justice adequately). Lastly, Harel defends judicial review on the groundsthat it is an embodiment of the right to a hearing.The book shows that instrumental justifications fail to identify what is really valuable about public institutions and fail to account for their enduring appeal. More specifically legal theorists fail to be attentive to the sentiments of politicians, citizens and activists and to theorise publicconcerns in a way that is responsive to these sentiments.
Professor Alon Harel is a Mizock Professor of law and member of the Centre for Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a co-editor of Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies, a member of the editorial board of Criminal Law and Philosophy and a member of the editorial board of New Criminal Law Review. He writes on legal and p...
Title:Why Law MattersFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.54 inPublished:November 29, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198766211

ISBN - 13:9780198766216

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I Why Rights Matter2. Why Rights Matter: The Interdependence of Rights and ValuesPart II Why the State Matters: Dignity, Agency and the State3. The Case Against Privatisation4. Necessity Knows No LawPart III Why Constitutions Matter: The Case for Robust Constitutionalism5. Why Constitutional Rights Matter: The Case for Binding Constitutionalism6. The Real Case For Judicial Review7. Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"There are plenty of legal scholars today writing about matters of pressing public concern, and there are plenty more who write on theoretical topics touching on our deepest commitments about the nature of law and state. But it is a very rare thing to find a writer who engages with thepressing issues of the day in a way that makes clear precisely how our deepest commitments are at stake and who makes a compelling case for thinking about those issues in a new and interesting way. Alon Harel has done just that with his stimulating, challenging, and evocative new book, Why LawMatters. It is a book that raises more questions than it answers. Although I doubt that any reader will be convinced by all its arguments, it is hard to imagine anyone finishing Why Law Matters without having at least some of his most basic beliefs about law and legal institutions unsettled, atleast a little." --Malcolm Thorburn, forthcoming in Critical Analysis of Law