29 October 2014

ARTICLES ANNOUNCEMENT: Philosophy of Law eJournal

We suggest two interesting articles from Philosophy of law eJournal. Click here to view the full table of content of the current issue.

STEPHEN PASKEY, State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo Law School
Email: sjpaskey@buffalo.edu

When lawyers think of legal analysis, they think chiefly of logic and reason. Stories are secondary. As Michael Smith explains, our legal system “is not founded on narrative reasoning” but on “a commitment to the rule of law.” The article suggests that this dichotomy between “rule-based reasoning” and “narrative reasoning” is false, and that narrative and stories are central to legal reasoning, including rule-based reasoning. In doing so, the article uses literary narrative theory to show that every governing legal rule has the structure of a “stock story”: the elements of the rule correspond to elements of a story. It follows that lawyers do not rely on stories simply because they are persuasive. They do so because a story is literally embedded in the structure of governing rules, and those rules can be satisfied only by telling a story. Thus, many analytical moves we label “rule-based reasoning” can be understood as a type of narrative reasoning, in which a client’s story is compared to and contrasted with the stock story embedded in the rule.

ALLY POSSI, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Email: allypossi@gmail.com
Human rights in Africa are under the microscope of regional and sub-regional mechanisms. The regional mechanism is under the auspices of the African Union (AU), in which human rights come under the scrutiny of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Sub-regional organizations, established as Regional Economic Communities (RECs), have recently developed their own jurisprudence in promoting and protecting human rights through their institutions. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have emerged as front runners in realizing human rights in African sub-regional organizations. The EAC is an intergovernmental organization which aims at improving the living standards of its citizens through cooperation in economic, social and political aspects among its Partner States. The principles governing the operations of the EAC in meeting its objectives include the promotion and protection of human rights. The EAC has established the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), tasked with interpreting and ensuring the application of the EAC Treaty. This article pinpoints key challenges that the EACJ is currently encountering and tries to find possible solutions which can improve the functioning of the EACJ to effectively protect human rights in the Community.

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