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Inserting citations to authorities into a text, in order to increase the persuasive power of it, and prove the competence of the author, has a long tradition in science and in law. The question is whether this also applies to judicial decisions. This question is especially interesting in a continental legal culture, where following previous cases is not obligatory, there is no stare decisis, and therefore, inserting a reference to a previous case may have a different function. In 2012 we performed a computer-based citation analysis of the court decisions published under FOI act on the official website of the National Office for the Judiciary (Országos Bírósági Hivatal). The article contains four sections. The first and the second sections are dealing with citations within judicial decisions in general, and their significance in different legal cultures. The third section is about the quantitative, while the fourth is about the qualitative part of the research, and tackle the issue whether citations increase the quality of judicial reasoning or not. The answer will be limited to the Hungarian legal culture.

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Abstract

The general picture about Somló’s Juristische Grundlehre is, that it is the continental version of John Austin’s The Province of Jurisprudence Determined, or even more harshly, the ‘carbon-copy’ of it. The paper attempts to show that this picture is misleading and oversimplified. Somló developed further his master’s theory in important points, and in very creative ways. Three fields, or building blocks have been selected for illustrating this thesis. 1. The place, role, methodology, and use(fulness) of the jurisprudence in general, and its place within the system of legal sciences. 2. The definition of norm in general, (as genus proximum of the law), and the relationship between different norm-types. 3. The concept and the distinctive features of law.

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