Saturday, May 9, 2020

Valguarnera to Lead Seminar on Comparative Legal History and Legal Creativity

Filippo Valguarnera, Associate Professor and senior lecturer in Legal History, Stockholm University will lead an advanced seminar on the topic of “Comparative Legal History and the Debate about Legal Creativity” on 26 May 2020 at 13.00 -15.00 via Zoom.   The discussion will be conducted in English unless all participants are fluent in Swedish.
The idea of creativity is rarely openly discussed in legal circles. This might seem rather strange or rather obvious, depending on your intellectual and ideological leanings. On the one hand, jurists deal with a normative subject which is man-made. Put in simple terms, we (humanity) invented legal rules, so how could creativity not play a major role in the professional life of jurists? On the other hand, a major component of the ideological makeup of liberal democracies is the idea that the creation of rules belongs to the domain of politics and that jurists, in their various professional roles, should more or less be confined to the role of explaining and applying the law.

Of course, there are few jurists, especially in academia, that would deny that legal analysis requires creativity, but what kind of creativity? Roberto Unger, in What Should Legal Analysis Become?, argues polemically that legal scholars are generally content with polishing small portions of their preferred subjects, displaying a sever lack of what he calls “institutional imagination”, i.e. the capacity to re-imagine and reshape fundamental institutions of democracy and market economy.  Is he correct? How can creativity be understood in the context of legal scholarship? How does the notion of creativity interact with some major theoretical issues, such as the relationship between law, politics and society? The topic is obviously vast, and the seminar will therefore focus mainly on the contributions that comparative legal history can give in terms of achieving a better understanding of the notion of legal creativity as well as fostering creativity in law.
–Dan Ernst