WEEK 4- Topic Overview- Doctrinal Socio Legal Scholarship.pdf

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LC4S174 - Research Methods WEEK 4: LEGAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES 1 (Doctrinal and Socio Legal Research Methodology) This chapter will address on legal research methodologies; mainly the doctrinal methodology and the socio-legal research methodology. These are important to consider in detail as they can influence the development of the law and examine the law as a social institution. Part A. Doctrinal Methodology In this part, the following questions will be answered: 1. What is doctrinal research? 2. What characterizes doctrinal method? 3. Why is doctrinal research important? 4. How to undertake success doctrinal research? 5. Advantages and disadvantages of doctrinal research 1. What is doctrinal research? Doctrinal (or “black letter”) methodology refers to a way of conducting research, which is usually thought of as “typical legal research” 1 . A doctrinal approach to research will focus on case law, statutes and other legal sources 2 . 1 Duncan N. and Hutchinson T., ‘Defining and Describing What We Do: Doctrinal Legal Research’ (2012) 17(1) Deakin Law Review 83, p.85 2 Dobinson I. and Johns F., ‘Qualitative Legal Research’, in McConville M. and Chui W.H (eds), Research Methods for Law (Edinburgh University Press 2007), p.18
LC4S174 - Research Methods Doctrinal… legal research can be defined in simple terms as research, which asks what the law is in a particular area. The researcher seeks to collect and then analyse a body of case law, together with any relevant legislation (so- called primary sources). This is often done from a historical perspective and may include secondary sources such as journal articles or other written commentaries on the case law and legislation 3 . 2. What characterizes doctrinal method? It is difficult to define doctrinal legal method; however, it is open to characterization. It differs from other methodologies in that it looks at the law within itself; a pure doctrinal approach does not attempt to look at the effect of the law or how it is applied, but instead examines law as a written body of principles, which can be discerned and analyzed using only legal sources 4 . 3. Why is doctrinal research important? - Doctrinal research can provide clarity, in the case where there is a lack of academic consensus and/or judicial inconsistency as to the state of the law on a particular topic. - Similarly, historical-doctrinal research can also enable the researchers to trace the development of doctrines and principles of law so that the correct precedents can be ascertained. 4. How to undertake successful doctrinal research? Undertaking doctrinal research typically involves source-based research and it would be unusual to undertake qualitative or quantitative research under the doctrinal methodology. Doctrinal analysis will focus on traditional legal sources, such as case law.

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